Hotel Guests: Emerging Source Markets Attract New Hotel Guests
Phil Benson explores how the opening up of new source markets is shaking up the UK hotel industry.
Reports last year suggested that tourism was set to be one of the best performing sectors in the UK over the next decade with value added contributions to the economy growing at 3.5 per cent per annum. This figure indicates that tourism could perform better than more recognised industries such as retailing, manufacturing, transport and communications.
The weak pound is helping to make Britain a more attractive proposition to overseas visitors and the current economic climate has seen more UK residents holidaying in this country. Spend from people visiting the UK from aboard is currently worth £16 billion and this figure is set to almost double by 2020 to £31 billion. Domestic tourism spend is also set to rise from £72 billion to £113 billion by 2020.
New Source Markets = New Hotel Guests
The majority of visitors to the UK will continue to be from Europe and North America, but the number of travellers from the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which have the fast-growing economies, is also set to increase, boosting the UK’s tourist industry further.
It has been predicted that visitors from China will more than double by 2014 as the country’s growing middle class take advantage of China’s relaxed visa restrictions and expand their travel ambitions. By all accounts, China is the fastest growing source market for foreign visitors.
Tourists from Brazil are set to increase by 18 per cent to 35,000 extra by 2014, whilst holidaymakers from India are forecast to grow by 29 per cent to 100,000 more and from Russia, 24 per cent with 50,000 more coming to the UK.
Major Events Will Attract New Hotel Guests
In the short term, the upcoming events that Britain will be staging over the next 18 months are set to see a huge influx of visitors from all over the world. The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011 is expected to attract an extra 600,000 visitors to London, with some hotels being quick to act and offer Royal Wedding packages to optimise revenue.
In 2012, London will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games and hoteliers in the UK can expect a successful period of trading after hotels in Vancouver enjoyed a 157.5 per cent increase in RevPAR during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The figure was credited to a 37.7 per cent rise in occupancy and an 86.9 per cent increase in room rates.
“There is little doubt that the London 2012 Games will play an integral part in helping to attract visitors, elite athletes, esteemed guests and delegates from around the world to London,” said a spokesperson for business advisory firm Deloitte. ”It is hoped that the increased interest in London and the UK as a whole, will help to create positive and longer term growth and sustainability within the tourism, hospitality and leisure industry.”
These impressive figures offer impressive opportunities to UK hoteliers, with prosperous times on the horizon. It is therefore important that hoteliers respond to these emerging trends to achieve maximum revenue following the gloomy times of the economic downturn.
By Phil Benson