Travel has always been in a constant state of flux between urban and rural locations, demand, ebbing and flowing between the temptation of city attractions and the charm of country retreats. In our latest market report we take a look at the website performance of urban hotels v rural hotels since the start of 2022.
While UK cities were making up ground on their rural counterparts before the arrival of Covid, the attraction of much larger living spaces and low-density populated areas held the biggest appeal for travellers during the pandemic. Rural hotels were at a distinct advantage as city hoteliers struggled to manage the changing restrictions and the inevitability that crowded spaces were off-putting to travellers. But at an interesting time in the industry’s recovery, the UK has seen one of the strongest summer’s yet outperforming 2019 levels.
Average monthly sessions have remained relatively balanced between UK urban and rural hotels over the last 12 months with small wins for rural locations in August 2021 and again in January 2022. The dip in website sessions in December for both categories was largely due to the arrival of the Omicron variant which helped to dampen the mood of travellers planning festive stays in December. Since March rural properties have consistently outperformed their city counterparts for average monthly sessions.
When it comes to transactions made on-line, city hotels have outpaced rural hotels almost consistently since August, 2021. Rewind three years, pre-Covid to July 2019, city hotels enjoyed an average of 96 transactions, compared with 113 in July 2022, +17%. Average monthly transactions are also up for rural hotels in July 2022, compared with July 2019 +43%.
Room rates continue to drive average monthly website revenues for both hotel categories, outperforming 2019.
In July 2019 urban hotels enjoyed an average of £60,859 compared with an impressive £94,539 last month. Similarly rural hotels revenue is up by 65% from £33,643 in July 2019 to £55,635 last month.
Since the beginning of the year there has been an acceleration in website revenue for city hotels, enjoying an average of 60% more than their rural counterparts. Hoteliers in urban locations are benefitting from pent up demand from travellers who have largely avoided crowded city destinations during the pandemic and now returning, enabling them to maintain rates and even pass on inflationary rises within their pricing.
As international, high-end visitors return to city destinations like London, we expect to see strong website revenues continue into late summer.
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