The 9th annual Hotel Data Conference was held in Nashville Aug 8-11. I was not there. Data on the hotel industry intrigues me. I don’t follow it so much in the past couple years since it really makes little difference to Loyalty Traveler how much hotel chains make financially. My writing focus has been tailored down to fit practical information on deals for cheap flights and hotel nights and getting value from hotel loyalty programs.
One takeaway I came away with after six years of attending a couple of hotel chain conferences each year from 2010-2016 is there is little information to gain about loyalty programs.
Some data I saw on hotelnewsnow.com from the conference may have interest to some consumers and frequent guests.
Here are a few pieces of data from the conference last week that caught my attention. These are my interpretations of data and information I read on current trends.
Hotel Industry Forecast
Hotel industry anticipating slower growth.
Thank goodness. Room rates have risen unrelentingly since the average rate in the USA was around $97 in 2009 to $130 in 2017.
Loyalty Traveler – Average Daily Room Rate Comparison Across 44 Hotel Brands (July 12, 2009)
Pay at booking for hotels?
Moving beyond 48 hour cancellation policies instituted this year by Marriott, Hilton and IHG is a call to make hotel rooms payable at booking like airline tickets.
Why so many hotel brands?
One can argue too many hotel brands dilute the branding message of a hotel chain like Marriott, Hilton and Wyndham.
A counterargument is the ‘long tail of marketing distribution’ to attract customer types to certain brands such as IHG wellness-type guests who may choose IHG’s EVEN or environmentalist-types who choose Starwood’s Element.
Autograph Collection, Ascend Collection, Curio, Design Hotels and other soft brands to attract boutique and independent type guests.
Airbnb.com has 4 million rooms worldwide, up from 3 million rooms one year ago.
Household Age Distribution 2013-2015
- Under 35 = 22% (25% in 2000)
- 35 to 54 = 36% (42% in 2000)
- 55 and over = 42% (33% in 2000)
Hotel Lodging Leisure Trips Spend Distribution 2013-2015
- Under 35 = 13%
- 35 to 54 = 41%
- 55 and over = 45%
Hotel Lodging Leisure Trips Spend Distribution 2000
- Under 35 = 15%
- 35 to 54 = 50%
- 55 and over = 35%
This data shows a fundamental shift over the past 15 years for leisure trip lodging spend shifting from 35 to 54 year old market segment to older Americans. Today’s dominant leisure traveler hotel guest is 55 and over.
Rising debt levels in US households, which I assume is higher among 35 to 54 year olds, makes it harder to manage a leisure travel budget.
Americans’ debt level notches a new record high – Reuters Aug 15, 2017.
The Price of Elite in a record high hotel rates world
In today’s session on “The costs of loyalty and distribution in a discount world,” I realized there’s a lot of navigating to do in terms of loyalty programs.
There are different types of members, such as those who want to rack up points for their next vacation, and then, as TravelClick’s Shayne Paddock put it, there’s the business traveler “who wouldn’t mind (hotel staff) knowing (his) name instead of asking, ‘have you ever stayed here before?'” When he’s been there multiple times.
Paddock also mentioned that companies need to rework their points and programs, and that it’s nearly impossible to reach the top tier. So it sounds like the industry still has a lot of work to do when it comes to mastering loyalty.
—Danielle Hess, Reporter
Are hotel website rates cheapest?
Cheaper room rates were found on OTA or metasearch sites at 21% of hotels studied. Booking directly on a hotel website was the less-expensive option at just 13% of hotels covered in the research. In two-thirds of cases, the rates were the same on OTA and hotel sites.
I have had very few best rate guarantee claims in the past year since booking a $2,300 one week stay at Hyatt Regency New Orleans in June 2016 through an online travel agency site for $700.
The discrepancies I find in USA hotels through OTA sites are far less prevalent in Europe, where most of my travel has been in the past 14 months. Thus, no Best Rate Guarantee claims so far for this loyalty traveler in 2017. In past years from 2008-2015, I booked about 30% to 50% of my paid stays in USA hotels through hotel chain Best Rate Guarantee claims for discount rates, free nights and hotel gift certificate credits.
With 21% of hotels offering lower rates through online travel agency sites looks like there are still plenty of opportunities for best rate guarantee claims.