Utell Hotels & Resorts has reported a 21% increase in revenue to hotels from January to August 2008 on hotelbook.com. The site is also reporting average stays of 2.8 days, and an average increase of £8 per night in booking rates compared to 2007.Countering downward economic trends, Utell has dedicated resources in 2008 to improving bookings for hotels featured on hotelbook, including the redesign of the home page, the introduction of dedicated city microsites, search engine optimisation initiatives and increased affiliate marketing activities. Sharon Wimborne, director of ecommerce for Utell, said the latest growth results are encouraging for hotels represented on hotelbook.
“We’ve further developed hotelbook this year to enable the independent and boutique hotels represented to better reach travellers globally seeking a unique and personalised experience,” said Wimborne. “The revenue results are evidence that our campaigns are delivering for both hotels and customers.”
With the site’s content and technology supported by Pegasus Solutions, hotelbook aims to sell the complete travel experience. In addition to rooms and special offers, the site offers comprehensive travel guides and award-winning podcasts. Key markets include the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
Bookings by U.K. and U.S. travellers have reflected a preference for domestic destinations. Nearly half of U.K. travellers have booked domestic destinations like Manchester, Edinburgh, and London; and 74% of U.S. customers have booked U.S. properties in destinations like New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami Beach. The data supports a trend towards holidays closer to home due to rising travel costs.
Additionally, U.K. travellers took greater advantage of hotelbook’s global reach, with New York, Washington and San Francisco consistent favourites. While the U.S. preference by U.K. travellers may be explained by the increase in U.S. inbound travel due to a weakened dollar, U.K. travellers also regularly booked Barcelona, Paris and Tokyo.
“In reviewing the booking trends for hotelbook, we’re pleased to see the hotels represented are attracting global business,” added Wimborne. “Travellers come to our site knowing we’ll offer the unique independent hotel experience they’re seeking, and hotels use our site to maximise limited resources in appealing to those travellers - worldwide.”