Hotel sector urged to increase online bookings as confidence grows

09 June 2015 by
Hotel sector urged to increase online bookings as confidence grows

More hotel businesses need to enable online bookings, as business confidence in the sector grows, according to a new report.

The latest Travel & Tourism Survey from chartered accountancy and business advisory firm MHA has found that business confidence is growing, but that over a quarter (26%) of operators within the hotel and bed and breakfast industry are still unable to book guests online. This is despite half (50%) of respondents reporting a year-on-year increase in online bookings. Just 16% said they had enabled online bookings in the past 12 months.

Rising profits over the past year were reported by 64% of survey respondents, with 59% saying that they expect to see an increase over the next 12 months, which MHA said indicates growing confidence in the sector.

Andrew Burnham, head of the MHA travel and hospitality sector, said: "This growth in direct transactions is good to see, especially as online booking agents have been increasingly dominating the UK hotel and bed and breakfast sector. This trend should lead to a greater online presence and more competitive offerings."

The survey also found that the number of companies to employ staff on zero-hours contracts had dropped from 37% last year to 33%, while the amount of zero-hours contract staff working more than 21 hours a week has halved since last year, to 34%.

Green policies had also taken a hit since last year: just 65% of companies reported having one in place compared with 82% last year. MHA suggested that this could be due to increased financial pressure, and the lack of awareness among businesses that tax relief existed for green practices.

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