TripAdvisor: 47% of U.S. hotels expect higher rates ahead of fall travel season

TripAdvisor: 47% of U.S. hotels expect higher rates ahead of fall travel season

TripAdvisor today announced the results of the latest TripAdvisor Industry Index™, the world’s largest hotel survey. With more than 25,000 responses from hoteliers around the globe, and over 5,000 from the U.S. alone, the survey has revealed some startling findings about today’s top hospitality industry trends. Among the key findings: U.S. hoteliers expect pricier rates for travelers ahead of the Fall travel season, as nearly half (47%) expect rates to go up higher this year compared to the same time last year, while only 16 percent expect comparatively lower rates.

TripAdvisor’s biannual hotel survey has also uncovered a number of other industry insights, including accommodations’ business outlook, how they are engaging with travelers on social and mobile platforms and their plans to offer eco-friendly programs.

Bright Business Outlook for U.S. Hotels

The U.S. ranks fourth in the world for hotels with the best business outlook, while Greece ranks last, according to respondents’ answers to a number of questions gauging the perceived health of their business.

Most Positive Outlook:
1. Indonesia
2. Brazil
3. Russia
4. United States
5. India

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Most Negative Outlook:
18. New Zealand
19. France
20. Spain
21. Italy
22. Greece

Larger Properties Most Profitable and Optimistic
Thirty percent of U.S. accommodations reported to have been extremely or very profitable within the last six months, up from 27 percent when TripAdvisor conducted its last Industry Index survey in Dec. 2011. By comparison, 24 percent of accommodations in the Caribbean and 21 percent in Canada indicate they have been profitable in the last six months.

Across North America, larger properties (with over 50 rooms) reported to be more profitable than smaller properties (with 50 or fewer rooms). In the U.S., 34 percent of larger properties indicated that they had been extremely or very profitable, compared to 24 percent of smaller properties.
In the U.S., accommodation owners’ economic outlook has diminished slightly, as 62 percent now expect the economy to improve, down from 65 percent in Dec. 2011. Economic outlook, however, appears to vary by property size: 67 percent of larger properties and 57 percent of smaller properties expect economic conditions to improve a little or a lot in the next six months.

Mexico and Caribbean, Not U.S., Best Place for Hotel Jobs in North America
According to the survey, a greater percentage of Mexican (21%) and Caribbean (20%) hoteliers plan to increase the size of their staffs than their counterparts in the U.S. (15%). In the U.S. plans to hire have dropped down from 27 percent, according to TripAdvisor’s Dec. 2011 survey.
Outside of North America, hoteliers in India (39%) and Brazil (34%) are reportedly the most likely to increase the size of their staffs, while hoteliers in France (6%) and the UK (8%) are least likely to add new employees.

Room Rate Rankings: Who’s Increasing/Decreasing Rates ahead of Fall
(Note: Rate trends compared to same time last year)

Top 5 for Lower Rates:
1. Greece – 58%
2. Spain – 43%
3. Italy – 37%
4. Australia – 32%
5. New Zealand – 29%
Top 5 for Higher Rates:
1. U.S. – 47%
2. Brazil – 42%
3. Russia – 42%
4. Indonesia – 37%
5. Turkey – 35%

Special Offers and Deals: How U.S. Accommodations Win Guests
(Note: Special Offers used most often to attract guests)

Top 5 Special Offers:
1. Discounts of rooms – 58%
2. Special amenities (e.g., free WiFi) – 44%
3. Free parking – 31%
4. Rewards points – 30%
5. Free newspapers – 20%

Twelve percent of U.S. accommodations do not offer any special offers.

What’s with Free WiFi?
93 percent of U.S. respondents report offering free in-room WiFi Internet access
17 percent of the respondents who do not currently offer free WiFi, plan to do so in the next six months
Social Media Rankings Show U.S. Falling Behind
(Note: Rankings based on respondents claiming to use social media to engage with travelers)
Ranked #13 in the world for usage of social media to attract travelers, the U.S. (69%) trails behind Malaysia (89%), Indonesia (84%) and Mexico (83%) who all topped the charts.

In the U.S., 70 percent of hotels and 69 percent of B&Bs reported using social media to engage with current or potential guests. Overall, across property types and sizes, respondents cited industry research/reports (57%) and staying current with the competition (30%) as the top reasons why they are using social media, while posting deals (64%) and responding to guest feedback (58%) were the most common responses for how they are using these sites.
Thirty percent of respondents monitor mentions of their property once a day with 56 percent reporting that internal staffs manage monitoring responsibility. In both cases, these were the most common responses.