Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 256 – Key Takeaways From The 2024 Hotelier Sentiment Study

Good day fellow hoteliers and welcome to episode 256 of the Hotel Marketing Podcast. Hoteliers face an onslaught of challenges every single day. That’s why we compiled the 2024 Hotelier Sentiment Study where we uncovered the top concerns of hoteliers just like you. On Today’s episode, we go through the data and discuss the top 4 takeaways.

Before we begin, if you’d like to follow along, you can check out the show notes and all links over at and click on episode 256.  While you’re there you can also download your free copy of the 2024 Hotelier Sentiment Study.


In The News: 

AI music begins to hit the mainstream.

Services such as and allow anyone to create custom AI-generated music. This user-friendly implementation of generative AI can upend the entire music industry, particularly the need for brief audio snippets, jingles, and background music.


The Main Topic: Takeaways From The 2024 Hotelier Sentiment Study

TravelBoom recently released a new Hotelier Sentiment Study to discover the biggest challenges of independent, groups, and flagged hotels in today’s environment. This data was then compared to the recent Leisure Travel Trends study where we discovered similar insights from recent travelers. Combined the two studies paints a 360 picture of exactly what hotel marketers should focus on moving forward.

Based on the study each cast member picked their one key takeaway, which we will discuss:

Staffing continues to be a big issue.

When we asked, what is the biggest concern for your property? Staffing was a top response. As travel increases, the staffing issue continues to worsen. The good news is, there are some things you can do to combat the shortage.

  • Treat staff like guests – build a reputation as a great place to work. What can you do as an employer to make your staff glad they chose to work for you?
  • Lean into technology – remote check-in, AI-powered revenue management, and other automated systems can reduce the reliance on staff
  • Evaluate Service – review your service stack and determine how you can streamline what you deliver without impacting guest satisfaction. For example, guests have adapted to less frequent housekeeping services.
  • Get help – outsourcing is going to become more important moving forward. Some options are laundry services, call centers, and marketing.
  • The staffing struggles aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. A combination of competitive pay and benefits, a flexible work environment, and getting creative with ways to incorporate the use of technology will help hoteliers succeed moving forward.

Are hoteliers marketing the right amenities? (in-room kitchens, etc)

  • Hoteliers may be underselling their most valuable amenities
  • While hoteliers find free wifi, a pool, free breakfast, and free parking to be the most important amenities (and guests find these important, too), guests find in-room kitchens to be more important than free wifi and free breakfast (2023 travel study). In-room kitchens didn’t crack the top ten in importance in the hotelier study.
  • If you do have in-room kitchens, it may be time to really sell that feature
  • If not, fear not. What the data suggests is that hoteliers need to understand what amenities their guests find most valuable and promote those amenities in their marketing campaigns.
  • Comb your reviews, guest surveys and feedback to find patterns in what’s working and promote those amenities to the right audience.
    • An in-room kitchen may influence families with kids or business travelers.

The Hidden Cost of OTAs

  • OTAs are a large source of bookings for most hotels. Based on responses, an average of 40% (nearly the same percentage of direct bookings) of bookings are generated via an OTA with Expedia and leading 
  • On average, hoteliers are paying 16.33% in OTA commissions. 
  • The average property surveyed had 166 rentable units or 60,590 annual nights. 
  • The average hotel occupancy rate in America is 66%. (*Siteminder) 
  • According to Statista, the average daily rate was $148.83 in the Americas. 
  • When we examine this data, it suggests that an average hotel might see 15,996 nights booked, valued at $2,380,685, through an OTA. 
  • This represents $388,766 in annual OTA commissions for a typical hotel. 
  • OTAs can be helpful tools to drive bookings and generate brand awareness. However, the cost is high. Hoteliers should carefully consider their OTA strategies to minimize commission costs. Consider reallocating fees to marketing efforts that might drive direct bookings. Use OTAs as a new business pipeline with tactics to convert guests into direct booking in the future, disable OTAs for periods where high occupancy is expected, and invest potential commission spends into other channels such as PPC and metasearch 

Inflation and rising costs are significant points of frustration for both hoteliers and travelers alike. 

  • Guests are frustrated with ever-increasing room costs, booking fees, and the general rise in costs across the board.  
  • Hotels are frustrated with the high costs of utilities and staffing.  

How can hoteliers find a balance in raising ADR to cover their costs while also appeasing guests with tighter and tighter wallets?

  • Selling the experience and dream as opposed to simply a “room”
  • Highlight the benefits and cost-saving opportunities at your property. Lean into free parking, breakfast, concierge savings, etc.
  • Become the perfect example of an “innkeeper” and deliver amazing personalized service.  Just like we spoke about last week with the Leela Palace Hotel. They went way, WAY, out of their way to help a guest recover lost luggage from an airline and even baked them a suitcase-shaped cake. 
  • If you can’t help but raise prices, ensure you are highlighting the value to a greater extent.


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