The hospitality industry is bigger than you think and contributes towards a large proportion of Britain’s overall GDP, whilst also employing a significant number of workers. Overall, the total gross value added contribution to GDP was estimated to be around £143 billion in 2014, which is 10 per cent of the UK’s GDP. As well as procuring an indirect employment figure of 775,000 people while directly employing 4.6 million people, for every £1 million the hospitality industry directly contributes, £1.5 million is created and absorbed by other parts of the UK economy.
Within hospitality and tourism, the hotel industry sits comfortably between the two and makes GDP contributions to both sub-sectors within the UK. In the years between 2014Ð16, hotels (excluding the London area) experienced revenue per available room growth of 10.4 per cent in 2014, which was forecasted to increase by 6.3 per cent in 2015 and 4.2 per cent in 2016. Year on year then, it is evident that the hotel industry is experiencing steady growth.
However, the emergence of smart technologies and their interaction with the hotel and B&B market has resulted in future growth prospects becoming less apparent. With the rise of apps such as Airbnb and Hostelworld becoming players in the market, this is compromising the traditional hotel space’s ability to compete competitively in the market. This is because people who have a vacant space to rent for the night are often appealing to younger consumers who are more inclined to pay for Ôshared space’ accommodation at a cheaper price.
Together with Shortridge, who specialise in hotel linen hire, we have looked to establish how this emerging DIY digital market is challenging the way we use hotel spaces and how smart technologies can help benefit the hotel industry in the future.
The shared space: popular for business
Through emerging breakthroughs in interconnectivity, technology and smart apps, rising urbanisation has led to consumers opting for Ôshared spaces’ rather than traditional hotel brands. Now that users can simply log onto an app and then view many different properties in a convenient location, the idea of a stand-alone hotel becomes less appealing when positioned on a digital platform.
Research conducted by BDRC Continental has suggested that apps like Airbnb had outperformed hotel brands within a similar awareness scope to Airbnb. Therefore, it is clear that hotel brands who are sticking to tried and tested methods of brand awareness aren’t having the same appeal in a technologically driven market.
The DIY space
It is estimated that 9 per cent of tourists and travellers in the UK have rented a private space within someone’s home. Within Europe, this is lower than other countries, as France accommodated 11 per cent of travellers in their homes and Germany accommodated 13 per cent in their abodes. Within the European leisure market, it is clear this is an emerging trend and it is only expected to rise as millennials choose a cheaper alternative featured on a digital platform as opposed to more traditional hotels.
Within London alone, over 40 million guests have stayed in a shared space property posted onto an app, and there are 31,000 listings available throughout the capital at the time of writing. This is, however, still lower than the amount of hotel rooms available in the capital Ð figured in 2015 at 138,769.
With low-cost hotel accommodation set to increase by 29 per cent though, perhaps this is the way the hotel industry is fighting back against app-based forms of sourcing accommodation. If hotel brands are to compete then, understanding that the app or digital platform is as important as the accommodation itself, is one way of fighting against the DIY hotelier revolution.
By Alice Turnbull
Alice Turnbull is the Relationship Manager at Media Works Online Marketing, a UK-based award-winning digital agency servicing global clients across multiple sectors. Mediaworks offers a range of services, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search (PPC), Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO),ÊOnline Reputation Management (ORM), Web Development and Content Marketing. Mediaworks was established in the North East in 2007 and has continued to scale and grow during the past 10 years from our Newcastle upon Tyne headquarters. Mediaworks are now proud to be recognised as one of the leading independent agencies in the UK, and theirÊgrowing client portfolio features everything from SMEs to large, multi-national blue chip organisations, so they are well-experienced across all sizes of business. Each of Mediaworks’ services can stand alone to deliver targeted campaigns, or work in tandem as part of aÊcomprehensive digital solution.