TripAdvisor Survey Finds 47 Percent of U.S. Hotels Expect Higher Rates
By James Shillinglaw
July 30, 2012 10:42 PM
TripAdvisor, in its latest TripAdvisor Industry Index, found that U.S. hoteliers expect pricier rates for the fall travel season. Nearly half (47 percent) expect rates to go up higher this year compared to the same time last year, while only 16 percent expect comparatively lower rates.
Top five countries where hoteliers expect higher rates are the U.S. (47 percent), Brazil (42 percent), Russia (42 percent), Indonesia (37 percent) and Turkey (35 percent). The top five countries where hoteliers expect lower rates are Greece (58 percent), Spain (43 percent), Italy (37 percent), Australia (32 percent), and New Zealand (29 percent).
TripAdvisor's survey also uncovered a number of other industry insights, including hoteliers’ business outlook, how they are engaging with travelers on social and mobile platforms, and their plans to offer eco-friendly programs. 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.
Countries with hoteliers with the most positive outlook were, in order, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, United States and India. Countries with hoteliers that had the most negative outlook were, in order, Greece, Italy, Spain, France and New Zealand.
Thirty percent of U.S. hotels said they were extremely or very profitable within the last six months, up from 27 percent when TripAdvisor conducted its last Industry Index survey in December 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 (those with over 50 rooms) were 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., hotel owners' economic outlook has diminished slightly with 62 percent now expect the economy to improve, down from 65 percent in December 2011. The economic outlook 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.
According to the survey, a greater percentage of Mexican (21 percent) and Caribbean (20 percent) hoteliers plan to increase the size of their staffs than their counterparts in the U.S. (15 percent). In the U.S. plans to hire have dropped down from 27 percent, according to TripAdvisor's December 2011 survey. Outside of North America, hoteliers in India (39 percent) and Brazil (34 percent) are reportedly the most likely to increase the size of their staffs, while hoteliers in France (6 percent) and the U.K. (8 percent) are least likely to add new employees.
The survey examined how U.S. hotels win guests. Those surveyed said discounts on rooms (58 percent) led the way, followed by special amenities like free Wi-Fi (44 percent), free parking (31 percent), rewards points (30 percent) and free newspapers (20 percent). Twelve percent of U.S. accommodations said they do not offer any specials. Ninety-three percent of U.S. respondents report offering free in-room Wi-Fi Internet access; the 17 percent who do not currently offer free Wi-Fi plan to do so in the next six months.
Ranked 13th in the world for usage of social media to attract travelers, the U.S. (69 percent) trails Malaysia (89 percent), Indonesia (84 percent) and Mexico (83 percent). 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 percent) and staying current with the competition (30 percent) as the top reasons why they are using social media, while posting deals (64 percent) 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.