The current hotel marketplace

Experienced hospitality marketing specialist Claire Lancaster, formerly Marketing Controller for De Vere and Village Hotel brands, takes a look at the challenges the UK’s hotel sector faces along with strategies and solutions to drive results and growth.

Times change lets first get a context and look at the current marketplace. For both London and the provinces 2017 was a hard act to follow. 2018 was held back by uncertainty, a slowdown in both economic growth and business travel volumes however was balanced fortunately by a weakened pound encouraging inbound leisure travel, Harry and Megan’s Royal Wedding and one of the hottest summers on record for the UK.

Overall 2018 occupancy levels and rates have been static which is predicted to continue in 2019. London is forecast to experience a marginal occupancy fall of 0.5% to 81% and £122 RevPAR. Growth in the provinces is predicted to slow but forecasted occupancy levels are being maintained at 76% and £55 RevPAR. [Source: PWC, UK Hotels Forecast 2019]

International tourism remains buoyant with record numbers visiting the UK and the weak pound will continue to support the demand for accommodation. Consumer income challenges suggests that domestic short breaks and staycations will be expensive and unlikely to grow this year, although a sizzling UK summer replay could change this.

Although visitors across all price segments are at record levels, accommodation supply and competition is a challenge. With serviced apartments and a growing Airbnb inventory adding to consumer choices and dampening occupancies, 2019 will certainly be a tough operating environment and year ahead for hoteliers.

The above predictions for 2019 are based on the UK achieving a Brexit deal. This is best case scenario and a no deal Brexit would have significant commercial impact.

Marketing in the hotel industry is very results-orientated. It’s all about revenue and core focus is to drive improvements from both the top line and bottom line, increasing occupancy, RevPAR and customer loyalty at the same time as driving efficiencies from marketing spend.

At IF Agency we’re working with clients to identify, prioritise and address the most important issues facing their business and accommodation portfolios. Now is the time to plan and act.

There are five key marketing challenges faced by hoteliers trying to improve their commercial performance this year and outshine competitors in engaging prospective guests before rivals or distributors get the chance.

Which of these five challenges is your brand or property facing?

Click on for strategies and tips to consider for overcoming them:

1. Lack of Loyalty

2. Content Competition

3. Paid Promotion

4. Direct Distribution

5. Back to Basics

What do you think will cause you the most issues?

Can IF Agency help your hospitality business grow?

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