Hotel Industry Poised for 2012 Growth

tripadvisor-hotel-indus-outlook-feb-2012.jpg58% of global hotel accommodation owners and managers worldwide believe their business will be either a lot more profitable (13%) or a little more profitable (45%) this year, according to [pdf] results from a TripAdvisor survey released in February 2012. By contrast, just 12% say they will be less profitable. Business outlook appears to be tied to predictions of direct bookings: 62% believe their direct bookings will increase a lot (15%) or a little (47%), compared to 7% who forecast them decreasing.

US respondents appear the most optimistic when it comes to business performance: 76% believe their business will be more profitable this year. This optimism may be tied to their outlook on the economy: American respondents (65%) are far and away the most likely to believe the economy will improve this year, ahead of their gloomier German and Italian counterparts (both at 30%).

Consumers to Increase Hotel Spend

Hotel owners and managers will be buoyed by February 2012 survey results from Travelocity, which indicate 76% of consumers plan to spend the same or increase their hotel spending to account for hotel rate increases, taking more trips, and longer hotel stays. Respondents said, though, that they are highly unlikely to pay for offerings such as maid service, newspapers, or personal check-in. According to the TripAdvisor survey results, 85% of global respondents do not foresee adding additional fees for services or amenities this year.

Consumers to Travel More, Too

53% of consumers plan to travel more this year than they did in 2011, representing an 51% increase from 35% in 2011. Of the respondents planning to increase their travel, about two-thirds expect to increase their travel budget, a 6% point rise from last year. In order to save money, nearly 50% of respondents will increase their comparison shopping, date flexibility and begin booking further in advance. About 70% intend to book vacation packages (flight + hotel) or book hotels via flash sales.

Half of Hotel Industry Goes Mobile

tripadvisor-hotelindus-mobile-marketing-budgets.jpgData from the TripAdvisor “2012 Industry Index” indicates that 47% of global hotel accommodation owners and managers worldwide, and 61% in the US, plan to offer a program using mobile devices (such as mobile applications, special offers, and booking on mobile devices) this year. Respondents globally are not yet allocating large chunks of their marketing budgets to mobile, though: only 8% plan to spend more than 20% of their budgets, compared to 34% who will invest 5-9%.

Accommodation managers and owners will also be monitoring social media mentions this year: 65% said they will have their internal staff monitor travelers mentions, including 81% of US respondents.

Most Plan Free In-Room Web Access

77% of global hotel accommodation owners and managers plan to offer in-room internet access to guests this year as a free service. Roughly the same proportion plan to offer it for a fee (12%) as plan not to offer the access (11%). French respondents (91%) are the most likely to offer free internet access to guests, followed by respondents from the US (89%), Germany (83%) and UK (82%).

Other Findings:

  • 79% of Travelocity survey respondents anticipate spending the same or more on flights this year. The 47% who plan to increase flight spending will do so to accommodate rising airfare or because of plants to travel differently.
  • Two-thirds of accommodation owners and managers predict that online travel agency (OTA) commissions will stay the same this year. According to February 2012 analysis from Compete, Facebook has not been a great driver of site traffic for OTAs. Compete assessed the extent to which 4 large brands’ Facebook visitors in December also visited the brand’s primary site, finding that Priceline had the greatest cross-pollination, with 77% of December Facebook page visitors also visiting Priceline.com. The other brands fared much worse, though: Orbitz (36%), Travelocity (30%), and Expedia (23%) all achieved less than impressive traffic from Facebook to their sites. Despite this, travel site traffic appears to be growing healthily: comScore data indicates that travel site categories accounted for 4 of the 10 top-gaining web categories by percentage change in January 2012.

About the Data: The TripAdvisor Industry Index survey was designed in conjunction with Brainbox Research and conducted from December 21, 2011 – January 4, 2012. The survey was sent by email to a random sample of global accommodation owners and managers and generated 9,441 completed responses worldwide.