Q1 RESULTS: Direct Online Bookings Boom as Choice Hotels focus on loyalty

2021 Best of Choice International Award - Ingot Hotel Perth

Direct online bookings are booming for Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific properties in the first quarter of 2022, with properties seeing a 13 percent increase on 2021 bookings and a 58 percent boost on pre-pandemic figures.

Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific Senior Director, Strategy, Sales & Marketing Kari Hunter said direct online bookings were stronger than ever in the first quarter, with month-on-month figures exceeding budgets as business and leisure travel within Australia returns.

“Direct online bookings through the Choice Hotels website and our booking app are driving significant value to our franchisees businesses and driving the recovery,” she said.

Ms Hunter said the trend was continuing into Q2, with further direct online growth in April up 20 percent year on year, and 142 percent on 2019 figures (for the APAC region).

Choice Hotels Asia-Pac Q1 Results

“Across the board our online channels exceeded all previous records. People are researching their local and interstate stays. They want brands they know and trust, and they want to book the hotel directly.”

For Choice Hotels franchisees, loyalty and direct connection with customers is contributing to their profitability in what is still a recovery period.

“Choice Hotels in Australia enjoyed 20 percent growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) on last year and are going head-to-head with comparable mid-range market competitors with a 2 percent boost on market RevPAR in the first quarter.”

The Choice Privileges loyalty program has enjoyed rapid growth this year with a strong line-up of preferential rates and exclusive benefits for members. Over 10,000 new members from the Asia-Pac region joined the Choice Privileges program in the first quarter of 2022.

“We now have almost 500,000 loyalty members across the Asia-Pacific region, and these are our best customers – they stay longer, return more often, and spend money onsite at our restaurants and in-room services.,” she said.

“With the international borders now open, Choice Hotels can leverage the 51million members globally as well as local members to drive business for our franchisees. And as privacy rules tighten around the globe reputable loyalty programs and first party data become a key tool for successful marketing and communication programs.

“A lot of people are very cautious when booking, and we’ve found there is a huge need for direct relationships between guests and the property.

“They want clear information about cancellations, refunds, and rebooking, not to mention access to the best rates which you can get only when you book direct.”

In New Zealand the accommodation market recovery is slower, and Ms Hunter welcomed this week’s announcement of a full New Zealand border reopening from 31 July.

“Getting international travellers back to New Zealand is great news. They have had it tougher for longer, but in New Zealand we’ve really seen the power of our brands – Ascend, Quality, Comfort and Econo Lodge – in attracting and keeping domestic business and leisure customers,” he said.

Choice Hotels New Zealand properties achieved a RevPAR in the first quarter that was 49% higher than their market competitors.

“Right now, the travelling public want to stay with brands they know and trust, and who have strong customer support on the end of the phone when things don’t go to plan.”

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