The number of branded hotel rooms has increased by almost 50% in the past seven years with the budget sector doubling its stock since 2000, research has revealed.
The 2007 British Hotel Guest Survey, by research group BDRC, says supply of branded rooms has not outstripped demand and seems unlikely to do so in the near future.
Whitbread owned Premier Travel Inn continues to dominate the market, with 13.3% share, with Travelodge in second place with 8%. Holiday Inn, Best Western and Hilton make up the remainder of the top five.
The survey, which questioned 803 business and 809 leisure travellers, also reveals that almost two thirds (65%) of business travellers have used hotels for meetings and conferences, accounting for 41% of room nights.
When it comes to choosing one hotel over another, 43% of business travellers claim their top priority is access to free broadband in their bedrooms with free wireless internet access the top priority in 38%.
Use of Wi-Fi areas in hotels has increased sharply from approximately 473,000 users in 2005-06 to almost 1.1 million in 2006-07.
Internet search remains the preferred way to find a hotel, with 89% using a search engine as opposed to 41% going straight to the hotel website. Of the online travel websites, Expedia is number one in terms of sites visited (31%) and rooms booked with lastminute.com taking second place (29%) with number of visits.
After declining over the past five years, the share of short break takers visiting cities abroad has recovered strongly this year. Short break visits to London and British seaside towns, however, are showing notable falls.
By Daniel Thomas