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New data from HRS suggests more business travellers are getting into bed with independent hotels

As HRS celebrates a new milestone of offering more than five million rooms that can be booked in all global distribution systems (GDSs), new data from the hotel solutions provider has revealed that independent hotel bookings are on the rise within the business travel sector. In 2015, figures from the hotel solutions provider showed that month on month from 2013 to 2014 there was a 38% increase of independent hotels booked in the UK and from 2014 to 2015 an increase of 59% as corporates look for further savings.

This latest data suggests that more travel managers are now seriously considering independent hotels within their corporate travel programme when booking overnight accommodation for employees.  

As demand for independent hotels has grown and is predicted to grow further in the coming years, HRS has responded by increasing its portfolio of independent hotels by 20,000 within the last year, now offering over 170,000 non-chain properties. The hotel solutions provider can therefore offer a wide variety of choice to travel managers and bookers to meet the needs of the individual and the business.  As a result, with more than 290,000 properties in 190 countries, HRS offers a big selection of independent and chain hotels worldwide.  

Tellingly, HRS is now also integrating its unparalleled content rich portfolio with TMCs and OBTs such as Amadeus e-Travel Management, GetThere, Concur, KDS and Cytric to name but a few. Its portfolio is also integrated with all of the GDSs including Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport, Travel Sky and Abacus. These partnerships mean that TMCs and OBTs, as well as GDSs, can now access a large number of independent hotels via the HRS content feed that they wouldn’t have been able to offer their own customers previously. Indeed, with more than five million rooms now available through GDSs, these partnerships make HRS the largest provider of independent hotel content in the world in terms of listed hotels and bookable rooms.  

Jon West, Managing Director of hotel solutions provider HRS in the UK and Ireland, said: “Outside of the US, 30% of the hotels available are chain and 70% are independent but this is not currently reflected by the majority of corporate travel programmes. Interestingly, our latest data for 2014 tells us that whilst 66% of newly sourced hotels in the UK were independent, a staggering 84% of those actually booked by business travellers in the same year were still chain hotels. So, while it is fantastic news that individual hotels are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve from hotel bookers in 2015, there is still a job to be done in order for them to be truly considered part of a mixed hotel programme combining both chain and independent properties.   

“Indeed, as our content starts to become integrated into the systems of many TMCs, OBTs and GDSs, we expect to see a further upward lift in the number of independent hotel bookings being made as bookers become used to seeing more choice beyond chain hotels.”  

In 2014, a study by HRS found that when taking into account the overall hotel market of chain and independent hotels globally, they could create savings for companies of up to £19bn, giving real impetus for travel managers to review and optimise their hotel procurement.   

As a result in the UK and Ireland, HRS has seen that corporates are actively starting to request a good mix of chain and independent hotels in their travel programme.  This creates opportunities for smaller chains and independents to make gains with corporates on a global scale.  

Jon explained: “Historically, global hotel groups have dominated corporate RFPs as travel managers and bookers have been tempted to play it safe by booking with a known brand in an unknown city. User review ratings and quality of content are making the hotel selection a much more level playing field. Whilst chain hotels will remain important, independent hotels can be a great choice and are now a truly viable option, deserving of their place in the corporate hotel programme.

  “Independent hotels often have more attractive prices and better rating reviews. This, along with improvements in the level and depth of content about properties, has really helped the booker make better-informed decisions about whether to go with a large hotel group or independent.”
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