By 80 DAYS | November 12th, 2018
2017 saw the European tourism market exceed everyone’s expectations, with arrivals growing an impressive 8% to reach 671 million international visits, despite challenging market conditions. This buoyant growth is one of the reasons that we chose to open our European office in Marbella last month.
Committed to helping hoteliers in the region improve their digital marketing, we decided to take a look at how European hotels currently perform online, and what challenges and opportunities might be on the horizon for 2019?
How are European hotels currently performing?
Using data from 80 DAYS Benchmark, our free benchmarking tool for hoteliers, we evaluated the average performance of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels within Europe during October 2018;
|Overall Website Traffic||% of Traffic to Booking Engine||Overall Website Conversion Rate|
Interestingly, traffic roughly doubles as you move up the star rating from 3-to-4 and 4-to-5, while overall website conversion rates halve.
It’s challenging to explain these results with certainty as product and service levels vary across star ratings, but also across different locations within Europe. That said, one could generalise that 3-star hotels often present a more simplified offering; rooms and restaurant. Compare this to a 5-star that may make more of a destination restaurant Michelin-starred dining experience, an award-winning spa, spectacular event spaces etc. This could help rationalise why less visitors navigate to a booking engine on a 5-star hotel’s website; there’s simply more service offering to explore. By that same logic, there’s generally more content to optimise and more of a brand-led focus for 5-star properties, helping drive interest and the increased traffic numbers we see above.
With less people entering the booking process, it’s probably to be expected that we see a correlation with decreasing overall website conversion rates. And, of course, the price points of 5-star versus 3-star can often make the purchasing decision far more considered, translating to lower conversion.
2019 & beyond; the challenges and opportunities
Earlier this year, PWC’s forecast for 2018 and 2019 suggested cautious optimism predicting “…further fairly strong RevPAR growth overall in Europe”. That said, the challenges to European hoteliers in 2019 are far ranging; increasing competition from alternative accommodation providers, continually evolving guest demands meaning necessary adaptation of product and service offering, diminishing profitability despite increases in RevPAR because of investment in product, supply exceeding demand in city locations, encouraging guests to book direct in the face of considerable OTA marketing budgets… need we go on?
In the UK, there’s the added challenge of political uncertainty with Brexit looming. Corporate travel is already being impacted as some large businesses move offices, but with a weaker pound the leisure market could help to bridge this gap in occupancy. In addition, hoteliers must raise their game to attract investment into the industry as a whole, with investment predicted to be down 34% next year.
From a hotel’s digital marketing perspective there are two key metrics we can influence to help drive digital success in 2019; traffic and conversion.
Attract and engage your guests with carefully crafted, exciting and well optimised content that speaks to individuals. Consider taking a more visual approach and using video on social media to grab the attention of prospective guests. Or why not formulate a programme of conversion rate optimisation experiments to help convert more ‘lookers to bookers‘?
And finally, don’t forget the value of personalisation. Personalising the guest experience, both online pre-stay and offline during-stay, creates a more memorable stay and helps to maximise the yield from each and every guest.
Can 80 DAYS help you?
Looking for support in planning your hotel’s 2019 digital marketing activity? Keen to start the new year with a website engineered to convert? Speak to 80 DAYS.
Our team, including Marbella-based Account Director Benjamín Pérez Ulecia, will be attending FITUR in January 2019. To arrange a meeting please email firstname.lastname@example.org.