European Hotel Trends: frugal Germans and luxurious Russians

A travel survey of trends among European travelers from 33 countries by ITB Berlin and IPK International indicates Germans have less preference for staying at 4-star and 5-star hotels compared to Russians and Britons. The proportion of Germans staying in luxury hotels has declined in recent years and just 13% choose luxury accommodations for holidays.

In contrast to German frugality are Russia and UK travelers who lead Europeans when it comes to booking luxury hotels for holidays. 26% of Russians stay in 5-star hotels when traveling outside of Russia. 22% of Britons favor 5-star hotels for holidays. Travelers from these two European nations lead the way in luxury hotel travel.

57% of Europeans stay in hotels for holiday travel with 234 million out of 413 million trips abroad booked with hotels. Hotel travel has increased in the past five years for Europeans from 52% in 2007 to 57% now.

Percentage of Travelers Staying in Hotels among select European Countries

  • Russians = 66%
  • Britons = 60%
  • Germans = 58%
  • Dutch = 45%
  • Poles = 44%

Midscale and budget hotel stays in Europe have remained flat in recent years.

  • 4-star hotels = 4% rise.
  • 5-star hotels = 2% rise.

Why the rise in luxury hotel bookings?

An analyst cited in the report points to lower prices for luxury hotels in recent years as a factor in the uptick of luxury hotel stays. Rate drops at luxury hotels narrowed the rate gap with midscale hotels. Some travelers have found more value in the luxury hotel segment.

The effect of customer loyalty programs and mass marketing advertising are other factors in the growth of luxury hotel bookings.

Where are European travelers sleeping at night?

  • Hotels = 57%
  • Vacation Rental Homes = 20%
  • Friends and Family = 10%
  • Camping = 3%
  • ??? = 10% (no data in the article about the remaining 10%. Perhaps trains, planes and automobiles?)

My journey from campsites to luxury and back down to middle class hotels.

During the 2008-2010 US hotel downturn my luxury hotel stays were a far higher proportion than they are in 2012. Luxury hotels in the USA made the biggest rate leaps of the different hotel market segments in the past two years and once again luxury is mostly priced out of my budget range.

Thank goodness loyalty points still make some luxury hotels a viable option in the face of sky high room rates. Unfortunately the hotel category changes have also impacted the 4-star and 5-star hotels significantly in the past two years, meaning more points required for free hotel award nights.

The 3% camping statistic for European travelers is a little disheartening. Camping accounted for about 90% of my family’s European travel holidays in 1974 and 1975 when we lived on a US Army helicopter base outside of Mainz, Germany. I have fond memories of camping in Paris and Copenhagen, and near Pisa and London. We camped on the Mediterranean beaches of the French Riviera and Spain, and the alps of France and Switzerland. Camping brought us so much closer to Europeans from many nations where we would share food, music and games with our campsite neighbors, language barriers notwithstanding.

I suppose many of those beach front and lakeshore campsites around Europe where I stayed in the 1970s were developed into vacation home villages in the past 30 years.

These days I prefer staying in hotels. And like the Germans, I tend to avoid luxury hotels. There are usually too many staff hovering around and the nickel and dime costs for basic things like a cup of coffee, internet and resort fees are annoying.  My desire is simply a comfortable room in a lovely location when on holiday or a good value hotel with a firm bed when traveling for business.

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Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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  1. @Charles – Hostels might be a separate category.

    My impression from recent searches for hotels in Spain has me thinking hostels are grouped with hotels in Europe.

    I have not stayed in a hostel since 1982. There have been several great locations where I saw hostels in my travels around Europe.

    In 2007 on a trip to Prague I visited a hostel by the river in the same vicinity as the Mandarin Oriental that looked like a good deal.

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