On quantifiable measures, the TripAdvisor 2012 Industry Index results of a survey conducted amongst 25517 accommodation establishments around the world from 7 – 14 June, and released to TripAdvisor rated properties yesterday, found that hotels with 50 or more rooms are smarter, and therefore more successful in running their businesses than are smaller establishments.
Questioned about their profitability, more than 80% of accommodation establishments in North America, South America, and Asia reported being profitable, while only 69 % of those in the Middle East and Europe did so. Establishments with 50 or more rooms were more likely to report profitability than smaller ones. The highest optimism about the prospects for the next six months came from establishments in Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, the USA, and India, while those expecting the worst conditions are the Eurozone countries of Greece, Italy, Spain and France, which is not surprising. Not surprising either is that 53% of accommodation establishments indicated that they had reduced their rates for the June – August period (could of course be season related, as would be the case in winter in many Southern Hemisphere countries), and plan to drop rates even further in September and October.
Online booking capability and use of Social Media in marketing were also probed. The survey found that Bed & Breakfast establishments are very far behind hotels and inns in their online booking facilities (or lack of) offered to guests. Social Media marketing is applied by 66% of all establishments, but once again hotels with more than 50 rooms are twice as likely to use this form of marketing than are their smaller counterparts. Mobile devices are most likely to be used to interact with guests in accommodation establishments in China, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, and in the USA, while they are least likely to be used in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and in France.
Marketing activities of accommodation establishments include offering discounts first and foremost, followed by offering free wi-fi, free parking, rewarding business with points, and offering free newspapers.
The question group that was at the core of the TripAdvisor survey, and led to some irritation, was that relating to the practice of accommodation establishments inviting feedback from their guests, to which 83% of the establishments replied positively. The proportion of establishments which invite their guests to provide feedback via TripAdvisor is 78%, the survey claims. The survey probed whether one wanted TripAdvisor to contact one’s guests proactively, to evaluate their feedback, which must have led to an overwhelmingly negative response as the result is not included in the survey report.
The survey concluded with the environmental concern and practices of accommodation establishments, and those in New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Italy, USA, the Caribbean, Australia and India are most eco-friendly in their operations. Interesting is that one third of the properties admitted that they do not communicate their green practices to their guests. The most common ways in which the establishments contribute to conserving the environment are to use energy-efficient light bulbs, encouraging the re-use of towels and linen, energy-efficient planning, eco-cleaning, and water-efficient toilets.
Interestingly, Africa as a continent, and South Africa as a country, were not mentioned in the results at all.
From feedback received, many guests still prefer to stay in smaller accommodation establishments such as Bed & Breakfasts, for the ‘home from home’ friendliness and more affordable rates. This is not reflected in the TripAdvisor survey results.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage