Hotel Industry Statistics & Trends Operators Need to Know
by Jacob Statler
The hotel industry has changed dramatically in the past few hundred years. We’re all about hotel chains catering to a specific market now.
Maybe your hotel specializes in hosting families — you’ve got a pool with a waterslide, an arcade with an indoor play area, and hand out kid goodie bags at check-in.
Or does your hotel cater to the business traveler with in-room offices, co-working spaces, and a 24-hour gym for when they’re finally done working?
Hat tip to you for knowing your clientele.
To ensure your hotel’s success, you need to stay on top of hotel industry statistics to know what your guests want so you can implement changes to handle those expectations.
Without data, you’ll be flying blind to what’s going on in the hospitality world, which could sink your hotel faster than the Titanic.
But not to worry, we’ve got the latest hotel industry statistics to keep you and your hotel at the top of your game — this guide covers:
- The history of the US hotel industry
- Today’s hotel industry
- Vital hotel industry statistics and trends
- Automation is a hotel industry trend that’s here to stay
- 4 Benefits of automating your hotel’s AP
- Hotel industry statistics tell a story
The history of the US hotel industry
The history of the hotel dates back as early as biblical times (remember that time “there were no rooms in the inn?”).
Before hotels hit the scene, inns were part of private family homes. Colonial American inns were modeled after British inns, with just a few rooms crowded with up to 10 beds in each room.
10 beds — can you imagine?
Innkeepers packed people in, expecting strangers to share beds.
Then, in the fall of 1794, the 1st American hotel opened — The City Hotel, perched on the corner of Broadway and Thames Street near Trinity Church in New York City, was the 1st American building designed and built as a hotel.
It had an unheard-of 73 rooms and became the hot place for social activities. For example, George Washington celebrated his birthday there in 1798.
In 1829, the Tremont House in Boston upped the ante for hotel design and amenities. It offered the option of single occupancy rooms and was the 1st to install locking doors for every room.
They even went fancy-schmancy by offering a free cake of soap — quite a luxury at the time.
Westward expansion brought hotels to cities across the country, usually next to train stations. At the end of the 1800s, luxury hotels like the Palace Hotel in San Fransisco, CA, had opened their doors.
In the early 1900s, Ellsworth Statler opened the 1st chain of middle-class hotels. The Statler Hotel in Buffalo, NY, offered business travelers “a room and a bath for a dollar and a half.”
US hotels multiplied and evolved.
Today, we have a wide range of hotels from the Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, CA, at upwards of $1300 a night to Motel 6, where they “leave the light on for you,” and you can snag a room for around 50 bucks.
Today’s hotel industry
Hotels today are designed with specific lifestyles and travel occasions in mind — there’s a hotel for everyone and every need:
- Ritz-Carlton — Guests who want luxury accommodations
- Homewood Suites — Extended-stay business travelers
- La Quinta — Budget-conscious travelers
- Embassy Suites — Guests who want the comfort & convenience of 2 rooms
Hotels have come a long way since the days of strangers sharing beds — can I get a hallelujah?
As a hotelier, it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest statistics and trends in the hotel industry to ensure your hotel is ahead of the game in addressing the wants and needs of your guests.
Vital hotel industry statistics and trends
“Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.” – Suhail Doshi, chief executive officer, Mixpanel.
The success of your hotel operation simply can’t be left to chance, guessing, or whatever your gut whispers to you.
You’ve got to know what’s going on in your world by understanding hotel industry statistics, analyzing that data, and adapting. So we’ve put together key stats to keep you in the know.
General hotel industry statistics
While general statistics might not seem super sexy, they’re vital. General statistics about the overall hotel industry are equally as valuable as more niche statistics.
The statistics below paint a picture of what’s going on in the hospitality industry and will help you figure out where your hotel fits in.
- As of 2019, there are over 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide. (Condor Ferries, 2020)
- The hotel market is made up of over 4 million rooms worldwide. (Condor Ferries, 2020)
- There are at least 91,000 hotels and motels in the US, around 52,000 of which are hotels. Collectively, they generate more than $194 billion of revenue annually. (Condor Ferries, 2020)
- The average American hotel generates 65% of revenue from rooms, while 25% comes from F&B and 10% from other outlets. (Hotel Tech Report 2022)
- Hilton remains the world’s most valuable hospitality brand, with its value up by 35% despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brand Finance, 2020)
- There are over 4,600 boutique hotels in the United States as of 2021. A boutique hotel is usually defined as a high-end, independently owned hotel with fewer than 100 rooms and a unique design style. (Hotel Tech Report 2022)
- The average room rate in the US is $120.01 per night. (Condor Ferries, 2020)
- Airbnb is currently considered the most valuable tourism and leisure brand, valued at $10.5 billion. (Brand Finance, 2020)
- 81% of travelers want more digital customer service from hotel brands. (PwC, 2019)
- Hospitality market data reveals that of all the sectors that make up the hospitality industry, air travel, accommodation, and food services, contribute over 50% of the total output. (SelectUSA)
- In 2018, the travel and tourism industry accounted for 10.2% of the global GDP. (Deloitte, 2018)
- The travel and tourism sector is one of the fastest-growing industries, accounting for over 10% of the world’s GDP. (Sommet Education, 2019)
- The global luxury travel market is the fastest-growing section of the travel industry. It’s expected to grow by 7.4% between 2019 and 2025, reaching over $350 billion in value within the 1st months of 2026. (ADROIT market research)
- Large hotel chains lose 10% – 15% of total revenue through commissions paid to 3rd party booking services. While small chains and hotels fork over 18% – 22% of their total revenue in 3rd party service commissions. (PWC, 2019)
Digitization and tech integration hotel statistics
As more people get used to facial recognition and fingerprint identification on their laptops and phones, the more digital integration they expect with their hotel experience.
As far as digital transformation, “nice to have” doesn’t cut it anymore in the hotel industry. Instead, digitization is necessary to stay ahead of your competition and on track with your growth.
Analysis of the hotel industry has produced some valuable data on this topic for you to review and implement in your hotels:
- As of August 2020, 62% of hotel guests prefer to check in & out on a hotel’s app. (Statista 2020)
- 73% of guests would prefer to open their hotel room door with an app. (Statista 2020)
- 25% of hospitality and leisure CEOs think AI will significantly impact how they operate in the next five years. (PWC 2019)
- At least 8 of the global leading hotel chains have implemented VR experiences in their marketing strategy. (PWC 2019)
- Hotels using virtual tours are getting up to a 135% increase in online revenue. (PWC 2019)
- Since implementing a VR staff training program, Best Western Hotel has reaped tangible benefits. Some benefits include a 71% decrease in guest complaints, a 19% increase in customer service ratings, and reduced onboarding time. (PWC 2019)
- 85% of guests say they’d feel more comfortable staying at hotels that use technology to reduce direct contact. (Safe Stay Survey 2020)
- Over 60% of guests surveyed said they’d use voice control technology if present in their room, and almost 70% would use it for in-room amenities like thermostats and light controls. In addition, 67% of guests also want the ability to cast personal content from their own devices to the room’s TV. (Hotel Internet Services 2020)
Millennial travel statistics
Millennials represent the largest generation to date (with Gen Z hot on their tail), making up 31.5% of the world’s population. They’re redefining travel by emphasizing experiences and culture, creating their itineraries, and making travel decisions influenced by social media or user-generated content rather than stock photos.
All of these new travel trends are conducted on their smartphone, from research to booking.
As a hotelier, you need to pay attention to this group and its trends.
- Millennials spent $200 billion on travel in 2018, 33% plan a spending budget of $5000+ on their vacations.
- 66% of millennials book their trip using a smartphone.
- 74% use their phone for travel research.
- 82% of millennials traveled last year, compared with 75% of all other generations.
- 69% take weekend trips
- Millennials took 5.6 trips per year, compared with 4.4 (Gen Z), 4.0 (Gen X), and 3.5 (Boomers).
- 97% share travel experiences on social media, with 2 in 3 posting at least once a day during their trip.
- 58% of millennials stated they’d be up for solo travel, and 26% already have.
- 44% of millennials with children have traveled together, of which 62% did so with kids under 5 years old.
Understanding your guests’ booking habits and preferences will help you create hotel booking experiences to accommodate their expectations.
With these hotel industry statistics in your toolbox, you’ll know when most guests book trips and where they come from.
- 70% of global travelers are more likely to book eco-friendly accommodation, regardless of whether or not they’re looking for a sustainable stay. (Booking.com, 2019)
- Flights and hotels are booked 12 weeks in advance. (Google, 2019)
- Travelers who book their activities ahead spend 81% more on transportation and 47% more on accommodation. (Google, 2019)
- Most hotel bookings are made at 10 am CET, and the least bookings happen around 6 am CET. (TrekkSoft, 2019)
- In 2018, there were 66.7% direct website bookings, 9.1% marketplace bookings, and 24.3% third-party service bookings. (TrekkSoft, 2019)
Hotel accommodation statistics
You’ve got to know what influences travelers when choosing accommodations, right? Of course, you think your hotel is the bee’s knees but is it making the cut when analyzing these hotel accommodation stats?
Let’s find out:
- In 2017 alone, tourists spent over $300 billion on traveler accommodation. (SelectUSA)
- Luxury hotels performed the worst during the pandemic, with only 21% occupancy in December 2020 compared to 68% in December 2019. (U.S. Travel Association)
- On the other hand, economy hotels performed better, with 45% occupancy in December 2020, just 3% below December 2019 (48%). (U.S. Travel Association)
- How do different factors influence hotel choices?
- 41% location
- 39% family needs
- 36% price
- 31% family friend offerings
- 31% room size
- 21% deal/promotion (Expedia Group, 2019)
- 72% of vacation travelers prefer hotel and resort stays over vacation rentals or timeshares, with the top reasons being better amenities (37%), booking ease (33%), onsite bars and dining (31%). (ValuePenguin 2021)
- Once checked in, 90% of millennials connect to the hotel WiFi. (PwC, 2019)
- 58% of family travelers stayed in a hotel on their last trip. On the other hand, 21% stayed in a resort, 17% were hosted by friends/family, and 16% stayed in a vacation rental. (Expedia Group, 2019)
Hotel industry employment statistics
According to the bureau of labor statistics, the hotel industry has an annual employee turnover rate of 73.8% — that’s more than 6% of your hotel staff hitting the road every month.
That’s a staggering statistic.
Tourism is rebounding after the pandemic, which means you need to focus on keeping your hotel employees AND the constant hiring of new staff.
Just a note, younger generations tend to switch jobs often during their careers. Therefore, attracting and retaining younger hospitality professionals will require a lot of flexibility and attention from hoteliers in the future.
Here are a few critical hotel employee statistics:
- At the height of the 2008 Great Recession, there were approximately 353,000 open hospitality positions in the US. As of 2018, that number had climbed to 1,139,000 job openings. (Deloitte, 2019)
- To attract new employees, hospitality industry players have increased wages. As a result, wages took a cut of 25% to 30% of total hotel revenue in 2019. (Deloitte, 2019)
- The tourism industry employs 10% of the total global workforce. (Deloitte, 2019)
- Around 173 million people were employed in the hotel & motel industry before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. (Condor Ferries, 2020)
- Immigrants account for 13% of the total US population, but they account for 31% of the total workforce in hotels and lodgings in the US. (Deloitte, 2019)
Automation is a hotel industry trend that’s here to stay
Automation, by definition, is the use of technology applications that perform repetitive tasks, freeing up employees for higher-value work.
Higher value work — let that sink in.
Many hotels have resisted implementing automation for fear of changing the way things have always been done or for fear of losing quality human touch, an essential aspect in the hospitality industry.
But let’s reframe that idea. When you adapt to changing times and incorporate automation into your hotel operation, you’re encouraging your employees to step up to higher-value work, like serving your guests.
Automation aims to improve efficiency, streamline workflows, and enhance your overall hotel operation. The hospitality industry is already leaning into the benefits of automation with solutions like housekeeping management software and apps for guests.
An automated AP solution for your hotel could lighten your accounting workload significantly while boosting workflow efficiency.
4 Benefits of automating your hotel’s AP
71% of businesses plan to further automate their accounts payable function in 2022, according to IOFM.
Automating your hotel AP is an innovative solution that’ll bring your hotel up-to-date and set you up for success in the future. It comes with some pretty sweet benefits in the here-and-now too:
- Frees up your GM’s time — This may be 1 of the most significant benefit for your hotel. AP automation helps your GM claim back valuable time to focus on operations and guest experiences previously spent on keying in and approving invoices. That circles back to “higher-value work.”
- Streamlined invoice processing — With an AP automation solution like Plate IQ, most invoice processing workflow becomes automated. Invoices are digitized, automatically coded, and routed to the correct approver.
- More accurate reporting — Generating reports is easier, faster, and more accurate with automatic GL coding. It also allows for comparing expense categories across multiple properties.
- Real-time expense management — Invoices are scanned in, or you can snap a picture with your phone and upload it. Because invoices are digitized, and automatically GL coded, expenses are applied to categories in real-time, allowing increased oversight of your hotel operation spending.
Plate IQ knows the hospitality industry and understands the uniqueness of hotel accounting. Their hotel clients love the streamlined AP workflow that comes with Plate IQ.
With Plate IQ, the GMs know that they can click on the invoice and see that it was paid. They can actually hover over the page to see the check number, click on the check number, and get a copy of the check. It’s incredible how much time that user-friendliness alone has saved me.
— Kirsten Haley, AP manager at Golder Hospitality
Hotel industry statistics tell a story
Remember, behind the stats are people. Your guests’ satisfaction, your employees’ morale, and your hotel’s success are riding on you paying attention to those statistics and making changes based on them.
Statistics tell the story of what’s important to people and give you the key to the mint in making sure your hotel operation addresses the essentials.
Adapting to change is the key to success. So when you’re ready to bring your hotel’s AP up-to-date with cutting-edge automation, Plate IQ is here to serve you.
Jacob Statler writes about the unique challenges of hospitality AP automation for Plate IQ.
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