UK guesthouse owners and reveal their key concerns

Mitre Linen’s first survey of almost 300 independent UK hoteliers has revealed that review sites like TripAdvisor, falling room rates and the impact of Brexit are among the key business challenges facing hotels today.

Mitre Connects asked the survey’s respondents to comment on the challenges/factors they felt were impacting their businesses the most.

Falling room rates were cited by 31% of respondents as their chief concern, with business rates (19%), increasing food prices (7.0%) and Brexit (6.0%) also being issues.

Overall, independent hoteliers are faced with financial influences largely out of their control as they also deal with increasing competitiveness, skill shortages, guest feedback sites and the impact of social media on the sector. A high 72% of respondents recruit staff via word of mouth.

Just under two thirds (65%) of survey respondents were members of an online travel agency (OTA), with Booking.com being the most popular, followed by Airbnb. Feedback and/or review sites such as TripAdvisor were cited as important or very important by 81% of those surveyed. All respondents said a guest getting a good night’s sleep was paramount, with 87% citing it as very important and 13% saying it was important.

Other findings included how often a hotel will change guests’ bedding if they are staying for a week. Just over a third of respondents (34%) said they change the linen every third day, 29% said that they wouldn’t change it at all over the seven days, with 17% happy to refresh every day or every other day.

When the same hoteliers were asked about bathroom towels, 45% said they would change the towels every day or every other day, 23% would leave it to the third or fourth day and 5% said they wouldn’t change at all. Unsurprisingly, many hotels (28%) left the decision as to when the towels were changed to the guests, highlighting the increase in environmentally friendly messages.

Mitre Linen managing director Simon O’Mahony said the survey was designed to provide Mitre’s customers with business-critical information from their peers.

“Mitre Linen is well known for high quality hotel supplies, excellent industry knowledge and award-winning service; we always aim to go further for our customers. The Mitre Connects survey enables us to facilitate knowledge sharing among our clientele in increasingly challenging times. Also, as a supplier, it provides us with the insight to better meet the needs of our customers.”