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October 28, 2014

Italy: Growth in Luxury Hotels Market--Customers and Their Favourite Hotel Brands

The luxury hotel market is alive and kicking: In the last year, high-end hotels have seen an upsurge in interest among international consumers of 7.7 percent, mainly owing to their appeal among Americans, who account for 58 percent of specific online searches, followed by the British, with 10 percent. China, however, is responsible for the biggest rise in interest, with searches for luxury hotels jumping 39 percent, with the country now accounting for a share of 9 percent of the total interest at international level. In contrast, German consumers’ propensity to opt for luxury accommodation has fallen markedly. The country is still the fourth largest market by demand, but has seen a 9% drop in interest owing to the new austerity measures imposed by the economic crisis.

These figures are taken from the 2014 World Luxury Index Hotels, produced by the Ecole Hôtelière in Lausanne and Digital Luxury Group, monitoring 485 million online searches on the websites of 70 hotel brands in 20 countries. The surge in Chinese demand for luxury hotels is explained by the CEO of Digital Luxury Group, David Sadigh: “The opening of high-end western hotels, even in “minor” Chinese cities, has generated an awareness of the product that previously did not exist,” says Sadigh. “Furthermore, young Chinese people do not have their parents' group travel mentality, and thanks to their better knowledge of English and web resources, they are more inclined to choose trips and hotels around the world independently”. 

The five most popular luxury hotel brands in the searches of consumers on all continents, among the fifty ranked by the World Luxury Index, are Hilton, Starwood’s Sheraton and Westin, Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton; these are followed by Hyatt, Renaissance, Embassy Suites, InterContinental and Hyatt Regency. Shangri-La Hotels, the brand that has registered the biggest surge in interest (+20), comes in 11th place: the Hong Kong chain is the most searched for on the Chinese market, and fourth on the French market.

The report also reveals the most sought-after Mediterranean destinations among luxury hotel guests: the first is Rome, which has recorded an increase in interest of 12% in the last year, second is Barcelona and third is Istanbul. However, while Barcelona has seen a 21% rise in interest, Istanbul has experienced a fall of 9% owing to political turmoil in the country. The three Mediterranean cities to have registered the sharpest growth in online demand for its luxury hotels in the last year are Athens, Barcelona and Tel Aviv.

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