Hotels can expect increased demand in 2014, but must adapt to modern travellers

HVS London believes there will be growth in both the budget and luxury ends of the market this year

UK hotels can look forward to positive trading in 2014 with an increased demand from leisure and corporate guests, transactional activity set to improve and finance becoming more easily available.

That’s according to global hotel consultancy HVS London, which believes 2014 will see positive developments in both the budget and luxury ends of the market.

“There has been much talk about the growth of the budget end of the market, but operators are still keen to build prestigious hotels in key locations as consumer demand from Russia, China and the Middle East remains strong,” said HVS’s chairman Russell Kett.

“Debt financing is becoming easier, but typically this is still only for acquisitions and refinancing where the borrower is already known to the bank, rather than new development. Lending is more easily obtained for hotels in major cities as opposed to provincial or resort locations.”

Across Europe hotel development remains active with 360 hotel projects ongoing, an additional 60,000 rooms.  Many are expected to open in 2014, with the balance in 2015 and 2016. A further 450 hotels (70,000 rooms) are currently at the planning stages, with the majority of projects to be found in the UK followed by Russia, Turkey, Germany and France.

Changing demands

London has taken the lead in the development of alternative hotels, such as boutique properties and serviced apartments. These developments are meeting the needs of this more sophisticated demand base and ultimately this might stretch more into the UK regions, as Kett points out.

“Boutique hotels have a great future ahead of them, not least in helping to re-educate the mainstream hotel sector in what the hotel business is all about.”

However, while hotel development and transactions look relatively positive, Kett urged operators across Europe, particularly those in upscale hotels, to adapt to the changing demands of the modern traveller.

“How much more refreshing it is when such attitudes come naturally to people, when staff delight in giving great service in a natural, unforced way, and when guests feel so happy about their experience that they do your marketing for you by telling their friends – little wonder that many boutique hoteliers recruit staff on the basis of their character and personality, rather than qualifications.”

HVS will publish its 2014 European Hotel Valuation Index in March. This annual study compares annual trends in the room value of upscale hotels across 32 markets.

Infographic: Online distribution

Another study on the changing demands of the modern traveller was released earlier this week by hotel marketing solutions provider eRevMax, which found that travellers who book hotel rooms online are increasingly equipped with smart phones and tablets.

The study, is put together in the form of the below infographic, which reveals that 7 per cent of all bookings were generated from mobile and tablet devices in 2013, and this trend will grow by another 20 per cent this year. View the full infographic on our Facebook page.

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