Choice Hotels Europe, the company behind the Comfort, Quality and Clarion brands in Europe, today revealed the findings of its second “European Hotelier Pulse-Check”* which examined hotelier’s 2013 business imperatives, growth plans and strategies for social networking sites.
As with the inaugural Pulsecheck survey conducted last year, stepping up sales and marketing activities to attract new hotel customers will remain the number one business priority for European hoteliers in 2013 and the hoteliers once again rated room quality as the most important hotel feature to secure repeat business.
When asked about their plans to market their hotels through social networking sites, 58% of respondents confirmed that they have created a profile of their hotel on social networking sites compared to 47% of respondents in 2011. 43% regularly post news and information on these sites, an increase on the 2011 findings where a third reported doing so. Each week 61% of European hotelier respondents estimate they spend between one to three hours reading and responding to online travel reviews about their hotel, whereas 35% spend less than half an hour. A small minority (3%) spend up to half a day each week on this task.
Individual market analysis revealed that Italy has the highest number of hotelier respondents (76%) who regularly monitor what people are saying about their hotels on online sites, followed by the UK (70%). German hotelier respondents post news and info less regularly than others (29%) and half (50%) of French hotelier respondents spend less than half an hour each week reading and responding to online reviews. 6% of UK hotelier respondents say they dedicate a whole afternoon each week in order to respond.
To streamline the process for responding to online travel reviews Choice Hotels International is giving Choice brand hotel franchises and their GMs access to a special review monitoring platform within Medallia, the global leader in customer experience and enterprise feedback management, which scans many blogs and social networking sites for mentions of Choice brand hotels. The information is captured and delivered to the hotelier’s desktops along with the Guest Satisfaction feedback gathered by Choice Hotels International enabling them to not only read all feedback in one place but to respond through the same application.
Duncan Berry, UK CEO, Choice Hotels Europe, commented: “Choice Hotel Europe’s Second Pan-European Hotelier Pulse-Check reveals that hotel respondents and GMs spend a lot of their week responding to customer feedback. While this is a key part of their role, we are delighted to offer them a quicker and smoother process that will free them up to step up marketing activities which is their number one business goal for 2013.”
Other findings revealed that when looking to finance their growth plans and expand their hotel operations, despite bank lending being hard to access in the current economic environment, a bank loan is still the first port of call for 63% of hoteliers looking to expand their business. 19% would prefer to approach private investors and another 10% would turn to fellow shareholders.
Berry, added: “It’s encouraging to hear that banks continue to support the franchise business model when they consider their lending criteria. When asking for funding to invest in their properties, it’s critical that hotel owners can demonstrate to the banks increased room revenue contribution and market share. Operating under a Choice brand can help hotel owners and operators to demonstrate success in this regard.”
Choice Hotels Europe franchises nearly 500 hotels across Europe alone. Choice Hotels Brands in Europe include Clarion which could be described as four-star, Quality, which sits in the three-star bracket and provides a mid-scale full service offering and Comfort, the largest Choice Hotels brand worldwide, known for value and reliability.
*The “European Hotelier Pulse-Check”, survey was conducted amongst 114 Choice Hotels franchisees, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany and Italy at the end of November 2012.