By Ahmed Mahmoud
The hotel industry is subdivision of the hospitality industry that specializes in providing customers with lodging services. There are a variety of hotel types that typically can be categorized by size, function, service, and cost. Levels of service can usually be split into three options: limited-service, mid-range service, and full-service. However, some consumers may be more familiar with the star rating system, with one being the lowest rating and five being the highest. When it comes to function some of the categories include business, casino, spa, extended stay, bed & breakfast, and more. In recent years, more and more people across the globe have begun to see travel as an integral part of life. Both leisure travel spending and business travel spending have seen year-over-year growth over the past five years. The hotel and resort industry’s market size has also benefited from this influx of travelers, seeing YoY growth that peaked in 2018 before decreasing slightly in 2019
The hospitality industry is big and diverse. Besides, every sector—from accommodation and recreation to travel and entertainment—is constantly changing. As a result, it’s certainly impossible to collect all the hospitality statistics they need to stay abreast of the latest trends.
Without the numbers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for industry players to fine-tune social and digital strategies. Even worse: hoteliers and destination marketers are swamped by day-to-day tasks. It is also no secret that the hospitality and travel industries were among the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Global and local lockdowns, travel restrictions, and quarantine protocols have added new challenges for business owners, executives, marketers, and customers alike.
What is the Hospitality Industry?
So, what is the Hospitality industry? First, it is important to define what we mean by the hospitality industry. After all, it is a broad field and while most people have a basic idea of the types of businesses that count as hospitality brands, a far smaller number are able to provide a coherent and satisfactory explanation of what the industry is, and what it is not.
Put simply, the hospitality industry refers to a variety of businesses and services linked to leisure and customer satisfaction. A defining aspect of the hospitality industry is also the fact that it focuses on ideas of luxury, pleasure, enjoyment and experiences, as opposed to catering for necessities and essentials.
The Global Hotel Markets
- It’s unknown exactly how many hotels and hotel rooms are in the world. STR estimates there are 17.5 million guestrooms in 187,000 hotels worldwide, but nobody knows the actual figures.
- The largest hotel company in the world, in terms of number of properties, is Wyndham Hotel Group, with over 9,200 hotels as of June 2020. Marriott International is the next largest, with over 7,600 properties, and Choice Hotels International comes in third with over 7100 hotels.
- While Wyndham has the most properties, Marriott International has the largest portfolio of hotel rooms. Marriott had about 1.4 million guestrooms in 2020, over 400,000 more than runner-up Hilton Worldwide.
- The hotel and tourism industry typically accounts for about 10% of worldwide GDP. However, in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the hotel industry made up just 5.5% of global GDP.
- Global hotel revenue hit $198.6B in 2020 after dropping by 46% compared to 2019. 2021 revenue is expected to rebound to roughly $285B in 2021, but full recovery isn’t likely until 2023.
- For the last several years, Europe has outperformed the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Middle East/Africa in terms of occupancy and RevPAR performance. However, occupancy dropped to 13.3% in Europe at the beginning of the pandemic.
- The city with the most hotels is in Beijing, China with 4,169 hotels.
- The city with the most 5* hotels is in London with 75, closely followed by Dubai with 61.
- Luxury hotel statistics shows there are over 4,400 4 and 5-star hotels around the world.
- The hotel with the most rooms is The Izmailovo in Moscow with a total of 7,500 rooms!
- The world’s largest hotel is the First World Hotel & Plaza in Genting Highlands, Malaysia with 7,351 rooms. It even has an on-site theme park!
- The Abraj Kudai in Mecca, Saudi Arabia is under construction but will have the most in the world with a whopping 10,000 rooms!
- According to Brand Finance, Hilton is the most valuable hotel brand in the world, with a brand value of $7.6B in 2021, although it is the fourth-largest in terms of number of hotels, with around 6,000 properties.
- Marriott International has the most brands under its umbrella of any global hotel company, with 30 unique flags. Marriott’s brand portfolio includes luxury brands (Ritz-Carlton, EDITION), premium (Marriott, Sheraton), select (Moxy, Courtyard), and longer stay (Element, Residence Inn).
- Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2015 in the largest hotel industry merger to date. The acquisition cost $13B, and the two companies’ loyalty programs were combined and rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy.
- Marriott Bonvoy is the largest loyalty program in the hotel industry. Over 120 million travelers were members of the program in 2019.
- Around 40% of US hotels are independent, according to STR in 2019. This is a big change from 1990, when almost two out of three hotels were independent.
- There are over 4,600 boutique hotels in the United States as of 2021. A boutique hotel is generally defined as a high-end, independent hotel with fewer than 100 rooms and a unique design style.
- In 2017 boutique hotels accounted for 3.2% of hotel rooms in the US, but 5.6% of national hotel room revenue.
- The value of the US boutique hotel market is forecasted to surpass $12B in 2021, which is a sizable decrease from the 2019 value of $20B.
- Boutique hotels have grown in popularity over the last few years; in 2016 25% of new hotel projects were boutique hotels, and many of those hotels were in smaller markets.
- Boutique hotels typically outperform non-boutique hotels in ADR and occupancy; in 2017 boutique hotels saw 6.9% higher occupancy and 64.7% higher ADR compared to non-boutiques.
Hotel Booking Trends
Without booking, the hospitality industry is an incomplete jigsaw. Booking plays an important role in helping guests connect with hoteliers and other service providers in the industry. The following statistics unearth key booking trends and the changing customer preferences when it comes to booking.
- Additionally, 70% of global travelers are more likely to book an eco-friendly accommodation, whether they are looking for a sustainable stay or not. (Booking.com, 2019)
- More importantly, according to Google data, flights and hotels are booked in advance of 12 weeks. (Google, 2019)
- Travelers who book their activities ahead spend 81% more on transportation and 47% more on accommodation. (Google, 2019)
- The most valuable travel and tourism brand in the world, according to Brand Finance’s 2021 list, isn’t an accommodation company or an airline. It’s Booking.com, which has a brand value of $8.9B. Hoteliers that want to reach a wide audience of potential guests can take advantage of Booking.com’s massive marketing power.
- Travelers visit an average of 38 websites before making a booking, an Expedia survey found in 2015.
- According to Kalibri Labs, 27% of hotel bookings are made through the property directly, 25% through the hotel’s own website, and 16% through online travel agencies in 2019.
- The average booking window, or lead time, for hotel bookings in the US is about 25 days, according to Kalibri Labs. The average length of stay is 1.8 nights.
- A 2015 study by the Global Business Travel Association found that people took 1.3 million business trips in the US each day.
- Historically, about two-thirds of hotel industry revenue was driven by business travel. A 2021 study by Bloomberg found that 84% of global CEOs planned to spend less on business travel post-pandemic.
- Millennials, especially millennial leisure travelers, are slightly less likely to be part of hotel loyalty programs than their older counterparts, according to a 2019 PwC study. Millennials were found to be part of 3 loyalty programs compared to 3.6 program memberships of older travelers.
- 40% of hotel guests are likely to write a guest review after a positive experience, while 48% of hotel guests are likely to write one after a negative experience, according to Review Trackers.
- 81% of travelers always or often read reviews before booking their accommodations, compared to 72% of travelers who read reviews before booking restaurant reservations or tour tickets.
- The PwC study found that millennials are more likely to redeem loyalty points for upgrades, while older travelers are more likely to redeem points for free nights.
- In the 2021 release of Booking.com’s annual Sustainable Travel Report, 61% of travelers reported that the pandemic has inspired them to travel more sustainably. 81% of travelers also stated that they wanted to stay in sustainable accommodations in the next year.
- In an Expedia survey conducted in 2021, 59% of travelers reported they would spend more to improve the sustainability of their trips.
- The same Expedia survey found that the top drivers of value when booking hotels in 2021 were enhanced cleaning measures, flexible cancellation policies and ease of refunds, and low rates.
- According to a 2014 survey from Hotels.com, about 35% of guests admitted to stealing something from a hotel before.
- An Expedia study found that in 72% of cases, travelers will choose a hotel with a higher guest review score over one with a brand name or a lower price. For example, guests would pay 35% more for a hotel with a score of 4.4 compared to a hotel with a score of 3.9.
Employment in the Hotel Industry
- The hospitality industry contributes $3.41 trillion to the global economy every year.
- 3 million people worked in the hotel industry in the United States in 2018. In addition, 8.3 million jobs were supported by the hotel industry, accounting for more than 1 out of every 25 jobs nationwide.
- As of October 2021, the unemployment rate in the hotel industry was 7.5%, which is higher than the national unemployment rate in the same month of 4.6%. Unemployment in the hotel industry reached a peak in April 2020 at 39.3%.
- The American Hotel & Lodging Association estimates that the pandemic reverted 10 years of job growth in the US hotel industry, as over 670,000 hotel industry jobs and almost 4 million hospitality jobs were lost in 2020.
- The median hourly wage for a hotel front desk agent in the US was $12.20 in 2020.
- New York City has the highest density of union hotels in the US, with over 200.
- 1% of hospitality industry employees were represented by unions in 2020, and 1.6% of employees were members of unions.
- Immigrants are critical to the US hotel industry, accounting for 1 in 3 hotel employees in the country.
- Hoteliers spend on average 33% revenue on labour costs.
- The International Labour Office estimates 55% of the global hotel workforce is female.
- 29% of those working in the hotel hospitality industry is under 21 years old.
- 39% of front of house staff leave within the first 90 days.