Break the chain...

Recent figures show a yearly increase in business travellers booking with independent hotels

Independent hotels in the UK are becoming more popular year by year with business travellers, according to the latest research from hotel reservation service HRS.

Figures showed a steady monthly rise with a 38% increase in the number of bookings for independent hotels from 2013 to 2014. This increased to 59% from 2014 to 2015.

Kevan Holland, Managing Director of THC, said he was very pleased with the research findings. 

“Trident has always been passionate about supporting independent venues and hotels,” Kevan said. 

“For the past 5 years we have worked relentlessly to get the recognition that these venues are a viable alternative to branded properties. 

“Independents do not have the weight of a group behind them with large marketing budgets and a sales force. They do not have the resources to offer overrides that makes them attractive to the larger agents, but they can offer a team of passionate, professional and long serving staff and guests are not treated as a case of ‘here today gone tomorrow’.

"There is continuity from enquiry through to delivery and invoicing, developing a relationship and long term loyalty.” 

During an interview for ‘The Caterer’ Jon West, managing director of HRS in the UK and Ireland, said independent hotels often have more attractive prices and better rating reviews.

“While chain hotels will remain important, independent hotels can be a great choice and are now a truly viable option, deserving of their place in the corporate hotel programme,” Jon said.

“Outside the US, 30% of the hotels available are chain and 70% are independent but this is not currently reflected by the majority of corporate travel programmes. Interestingly, our latest data for 2014 tells us that while 66% of newly sourced hotels in the UK were independent, a staggering 84% of those actually booked by business travellers in the same year were still chain hotels. 

“So, while it is fantastic news that individual hotels are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve from hotel bookers in 2015, there is still a job to be done in order for them to be truly considered part of a mixed hotel programme combining both chain and independent properties,” Jon said.

Kevan Holland is pleased to see that as a collective of Independent Venues, Trident is now being taken seriously by some of the more established agents. 

“We now have an agreement with Inntel that will see a greater exposure of our independent venue partners – a genuine partnership based on trust and not on how much the agency can squeeze out of the venues with no real promise of business,” he said.

“However is it saddening to see that independent venues are not well represented on Corporate Travel Programmes. It sometimes seems it is a case of money saving over value often pushed by procurement teams far removed from the hotel and venue users!”

HRS has increased its portfolio of independent hotels by 20,000 within the last year. It now offers more than 170,000 non-chain properties.

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