Choice Hotels Europe’s UK division, the company behind the Comfort™, Quality™ and Clarion® brands, today revealed the findings of its first “Hotelier Pulse-Check” designed to take a snap shot of what’s top of mind of UK hoteliers and general managers and their views on the UK economy and its impact on the UK hospitality sector.
The findings reveal that 68% of hoteliers surveyed are very or fairly confident towards an uplift in the UK economy compared to this time last year. However, there are mixed reactions on how hoteliers view the current economic environment - 31% think the last six months have been the most difficult trading environment they have experienced, another 31% are confident that in 2011 the hotel and travel sector will recover, while 36% believe recovery will be slow and take several years.
The “Hotelier Pulse-Check”, conducted amongst Choice Hotels UK hoteliers and general managers between the end of May and June, also unearthed their top business priorities to improve trading and increase business. 59% said their number one business priority for the next six months was to step up marketing activities to attract new customers while18% are investing in new facilities at their hotels. A further 18% are focusing on enhancing staff training to ensure better guest experience as their number one business priority.
Duncan Berry, UK CEO, Choice Hotels Europe, said “Our Hotelier Pulse-Check reveals that while for many the current economic environment remains tough, there is optimism that the hospitality sector will improve and many hoteliers and GMs are stepping up marketing activities, enhancing staff training and investing in hotel improvements”.
The hoteliers and general managers were also asked to rate what skills were essential to be a successful hotelier. 36% rated sales and marketing expertise as the most important while 31% believed it was management experience. 27% rate financial and accounting acumen as the most essential. The vast majority (86%) felt the ability to multi-task was the most essential attribute for today’s hotelier rather than the ability to remain calm under pressure and demonstrate precise attention to details.
While they are focused on winning new customers, the biggest barrier to losing customer loyalty was attitude of staff, with 50% believing that they potentially had the most negative impact. This was followed by weak reception or check-in experience (27%). 22% of respondents believed that problems with the hotel bedroom were the biggest turn-off in securing customer loyalty.
Berry, added: “It’s clear that today’s hotelier requires a multitude of skills to succeed ranging from marketing flair through to accountancy. The fact that so many of our respondents rated the ability to multi-task as the most essential attribute shows that the role of hotelier or GM is challenging, pressurised and varied.”