With 2014 rapidly winding down, comes a time of rumination accompanied with considerable forethought regarding the New Year to come for the hospitality industry. In that context, PhoCusWright recently released their annual report of reflection on past industry developments and projections for hotels in the future called “The PhoCusWright Yearbook 2014, The Year Ahead in Digital Travel.” The report shows how trends of growth and change for hoteliers in the past year will be continued through the next.
Travelers are increasingly booking their hotel stays online, according to the report. Figures for 2013 show online booking amounted to $429 billion worldwide. Online travel, as a percentage of gross hotel bookings, is projected to increase across the board around the world in all markets. While clearly on the rise, online hotel bookings still only amount to roughly one third of the total bookings in the U.S. and Europe. This will be an area of future growth and development for hoteliers during the coming year. Online travel agencies will continue their growth in numbers and percentage of gross hotel bookings, which is expected to reach 40% of the online travel market in 2015, according to PhoCusWright.
The use of mobile devices by travelers will continue its explosive growth as well. Of course mobile is not really a trend, but instead a driving force of change in the hospitality industry. Worldwide smartphone ownership among travelers is steadily rising with 75 percent of U.S. travelers having the devices, with European ownership slightly higher. This has led in turn to those travelers increasingly booking their travel via mobile devices. In the U.S. for example, nearly $40 billion in gross bookings was completed using mobile devices, this represents an increase from less than $10 billion in 2012.
Many of the hotel bookings are taking place last minute, meaning within 24 hours of the guest checking in at the property. On hotel websites, this accounts for nearly 25 percent, even higher for online travel agency sites. Tech savvy travelers are using their mobile devices for much more than booking as well. The most common use is to share details of their trip with friends and family. This is great for hoteliers who will reap the benefits of free endorsements from satisfied guests sharing images and video taken on the hotel property.
“The PhoCusWright Yearbook 2014, The Year Ahead in Digital Travel,” contains a number of further insights into the current state and future projections regarding the hospitality industry. We will examine hospitality marketing trends for 2015 in a future post.
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