'Make more use of independent hotels to save 15 per cent'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
5 March 2015

Travel buyers are being urged to consider making more use of independent hotels to cut costs.

Jon West, managing director of HRS UK and Ireland, said independents were on average 15 per cent cheaper than chain hotels.

West, speaking to SM at the Business Travel Show in London, said the key considerations for travel buyers were achieving savings and “making sure you have the right travel policy matching the right content” in order to keep travellers in the programme.

He said most travel programmes only contained chain hotels, which make up 30 per cent of the global market, with independents making up 70 per cent.

“One of the reasons people are [not complying with your travel policy] is because you are not offering them that choice within your environment,” he said. “You can only do that if you get the content right.”

He added: “Independents on a like-for-like basis are 15 per cent cheaper than chain hotels.”

West said sharing economy models such as Airbnb were “not really acceptable to the corporate marketplace” because there was “no real-time availability” and “no real-time bookability”.

“I think the sharing economy is great if it’s not someone else’s time [you’re using] to book it,” he said.

West’s comments come against a background of increasing hotel prices in the UK and Ireland, which rose by at least 9 per cent in 2014 compared to the year before.

According to HRS, Leeds (£82) recorded the highest price rise, with an average increase of 21.6 per cent, possibly due to the effect of the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire last year. This was followed by London (16.1 per cent) and Birmingham (14.5 per cent).

After London, Edinburgh (£99) was the second most expensive city, with Bristol (£87) in third place. Despite its increase, the cheapest average room rates in 2014 could be found in Birmingham (£72), followed by Liverpool (£74).

London, Zurich and Paris were the most expensive cities in Europe during 2014, with average room rates of £126, £110 and £106 respectively.

Globally New York was the priciest city in the world at £157, followed by Washington (£130) and Rio de Janeiro (£128). The cheapest global destination was Bangkok, with an average room rate of £44, against a background of civil unrest and attacks on travellers.

Moscow was among the cities that saw the biggest falls in prices, with rates dropping 11.6 per cent to £95 compared to 2013, due to the fall in the value of the rouble, said West.

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