Cautious Optimism: Booking.com Delves Into the Opportunities and Challenges Facing European Accommodations Ahead of Peak-Season
Business sentiment among European hoteliers and holiday rental operators remains strong as occupancy levels and prices have continued their increase over the past 12 months, with almost half (46%) anticipating that 2023 will be the year of highest revenue yet.
The second European Accommodation Barometer published by Booking.com in partnership with Statista, has shone a light on growing positivity across the travel accommodations sector, revealing 71% of respondents have found the development of their business over the past six months to be good or very good. Despite the macroeconomic volatility of the past six months, almost two-thirds find their economic situation to be favourable with both average daily rates and occupancy levels reported to have increased for 51% and 60% respectively.
Renewed confidence among global travellers has further fueled this positive sentiment: 57% of accommodations see a higher appreciation of travel as their biggest opportunity for the season ahead. Following the final round of COVID-19 travel restrictions lifting earlier this year, almost two-thirds (60%) of accommodations view international travelers as key for the upcoming period, while more than half (51%) have Gen-Z in their sights.
However, while overall positivity is buoying the industry, almost half of respondents (47%) hold concerns around overall economic conditions and there remain a number of key hurdles that accommodations are still tackling. More than four in five (86%) see energy costs as an ongoing challenge for their business, and as such 58% planning to invest in energy efficiency improvements. Elsewhere, staffing remains high on the agenda. Both acquisition and retention are an issue for 44% of those surveyed, with salaries and working hours identified as the top two factors causing a shortage of skilled workers.
Growing consumer interest in sustainable products and services is recognized as a significant opportunity for more than half (53%) of accommodations, and 55% see potential in offering more local experiences. Yet, despite this, only 42% feel prepared for the challenges of decarbonization, and so closing this gap on progress will require further support. The same number (42%) state that more tax and fiscal incentives are needed to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and climate-friendly model, while 36% see better access to capital and financing as key.
And while machine learning and artificial intelligence are dominating the headlines, only 8% of accommodations currently make use of AI-powered business tools such as chatbots and dynamic pricing algorithms. This, despite 60% feeling they are prepared for digital transformation. Although AI adoption is expected to grow, with one in four (23%) looking to introduce such tools in the coming six months, more than two thirds (66%) still do not yet have any plans to use AI in how they run their businesses - creating the possibility of technological disparity and a corresponding competitive disadvantage.
“It’s hugely encouraging to see the optimism driving European hotel and holiday rental operators ahead of the busy summer season, reaffirming perceptions that the travel industry’s recovery continues on a positive trajectory,” said Ben Schoeter, Director of Public Affairs, Booking.com. “At the same time, there remain an array of challenges that will make that path anything but smooth - our hope is that by giving accommodations a collective voice through this research we can support them further by surfacing the issues that will matter to them the most over the next six months and beyond.”
To download the full European Accommodation Barometer report and corresponding country-specific editions visit: https://www.statista.com/study/136820/european-accommodation-barometer-2023-summer-edition/
The survey was conducted by Statista and took place between March 28 and May 15, 2023, via telephone interviews. 1,040 executives and managers from the European travel accommodation sector participated in the survey. 80 respondents were interviewed from each country and region which included Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Nordics (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland), Portugal, Spain, as well as 200 respondents each from the Netherlands* and the rest of Europe (Poland, Romania, Belgium, Czechia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ireland, Croatia).
2022 data is based on the 2022 European Accommodation barometer, held between August 15th and October 21st, which had a sample size of 1,000 respondents, of which 80 respondents were from the Netherlands.
*Results from the Dutch sample have been weighted proportionally in 2023 European averages.
A link to access Statista infographics as they get published: https://www.statista.com/chartoftheday/Travel%20and%20Tourism%20Insights/