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BDRC reports on year of change for the British Hotel Industry

Specialist hotel research consultancy, BDRC Continental, have launched the 2014 Global Hotel Guest Survey programme with a presentation of results from the year’s first national survey, for Great Britain, at De Vere Holborn Bars.

Tim Sander, Director of Hotel Brand Monitoring Services, revealed that total demand for hotel rooms in Britain from British travellers increased by 2% year-on-year, to an estimated 108 million adult room nights, split almost 50:50 between business and leisure stays. The business market was boosted by a strong recovery in the residential conference to market, to levels not seen since the beginning of the recession.

Leonie Bulman, Research Manager, spoke of the disruptive threat posed by Airbnb, warning that while its overall awareness remained limited (comparable with new-to-market hotel brand such as Hotel Indigo or Ibis Styles), engagement and interest among frequent travellers and Generation Y hotel guests is high enough for it to be considered a threat.

Matt Costin, Managing Director, reported that the bar had been raised for guest experience, with the majority of brands registering stronger Net Promoter Scores. A loosening of purse-strings for product enhancements, brands rationalising their estates and responding to consumer priorities such as free wifi, combined to have the desired effect of reducing the number of brand detractors, in turn leading to more brands entering the consideration set.

James Bland, Client Services Director, remarked that several hotel brand owners had invested heavily in marketing communications over the last 12 months, but that getting through to a consumer now adept at screening out unwanted advertisements was proving a challenge for the industry, with awareness of hotel advertising flat to dipping.

In the annual brand performance awards, Ibis Budget, in its third year of tracking, was named the BDRC Most Improved Brand for 2014, recording significant improvements in brand recognition across business and leisure segments. Other emerging brands to make significant year-on-year progress included two from the Hilton stable: Doubletree and Hampton Inn / Hampton by Hilton. It was also a good year for IHG, with both Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express reaping the dividend of recent brand refresh and product enhancement initiatives, with strong recoveries in the brand rankings.

At the top of the brand rankings on a composite measure of brand performance for the first time, Premier Inn emerged as the No.1 Brand in the leisure market, but Hilton clung on to its lead in the business market as well as overall. Despite Premier Inn becoming the most widely used hotel brand for business, Hilton consolidated its lead over its economy tier rival among higher frequency segments.

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