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Industry and market trends

Richard Solomons

Where the industry is now

The global hotel industry

The global hotel industry comprises approximately 15.5 million rooms and is broadly segmented into branded (multiple hotels under the same brand name) and independent (non-branded) hotels. Growth in demand is driven by economic growth and an increasing trend for domestic and global travel, resulting in part from favourable demographics and the globalisation of travel.

Over the long term, the lodging industry has grown broadly in line with Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the US market (which is the largest market in terms of number of rooms), growth in consumer spend on lodging has exceeded GDP growth by two percentage points per annum over the last 50 years.

There are a number of industry metrics that are widely recognised and used to track performance and we actively monitor these. These include revenue per available room (RevPAR), average daily rate and rooms supply growth.

The branded hotel market

The branded hotel market is estimated to account for 53 per cent of the total hotel market. We benchmark our performance against the largest branded players that we consider to be our peer group, with a similar system size and pipeline to ours and who operate in similar market segments to us.

Five of the leading branded hotel companies (IHG, Accor, Hilton, Marriott and Starwood) account for approximately 30 per cent of the total branded hotel market in terms of open rooms, and 65 per cent of the development pipeline (hotels in planning and under construction but not yet open).

In the US, around 70 per cent of the industry supply is branded. In fast developing markets, such as China and India, penetration of international brands is, however, lower, at around 45 to 55 per cent. This level of international brand penetration is expected to increase significantly over the coming decades, as large global branded hotels gain traction due to the advantages of reliability, guest safety and security, consistency of standards and the ability to invest in customer experience and technology.

Where the industry is heading

Short-term drivers and global trends

Short-term industry trends are shaped by differing economic, political or physical factors impacting local geographical markets. Since the economic crisis of 2008/09, GDP growth has returned to key economies, leading to an increase in disposable income and an increase in demand for hotel rooms.

Long-term drivers and global trends

In the long term, growth in the hotel industry is driven by a number of trends:


The travel and hotel industries have benefited substantially from long-term macroeconomic trends. Global GDP growth in the last 10 years of approximately 3.6 per cent per annum has contributed to increasing disposable income and a greater number of middle-class households, particularly in emerging markets such as Greater China, with a greater propensity to travel.


Traveller demographics are continuously evolving. Many travellers travel for a variety of reasons and no longer for a singular purpose, such as only business or leisure. Across the globe, the types of traveller can range from single people to multi-generation families. The younger workforce is driving more diverse and informal working patterns, with an expectation that hotels can cater for flexible working arrangements. A growing ageing population with the desire, and means, to travel is also expected to significantly increase travel flows and lead to an overall increase in demand for travel services


Growing competition and capacity amongst airlines, lower air fares and more relaxed travel restrictions in many regions have made international travel a viable option for an increasing number of people. Worldwide, international tourist travel is expected to increase by 3.3 per cent a year from 2010 to 2030 reaching 1.8 billion by 2030, according to the UNWTO.


Technology is playing an increasingly important role in both shaping the travel industry and in guests' appreciation of their entire travel experience. The internet, increasingly accessed through mobile devices, has established itself as the preferred method to research, plan and book travel. In emerging markets, consumers are bypassing desktop PCs and going straight to mobile - there are twice as many smartphone users in China than internet users in the US.

The development of social networking has changed the way in which people think about travel, with the sharing of experiences, reviews and recommendations influencing research and decision-making. Travellers can make more informed decisions, and book their travel options with greater control and immediacy, leading to an increase in travel to a variety of destinations.

The 'Internet of Things' is an emerging trend that offers enormous potential. 75 billion devices are forecast to be internet-enabled by 2020 offering the potential to transform the in-hotel guest experience.


These long-term drivers and global trends are changing the competitive landscape within the travel industry. Competitors are no longer simply branded or independent hotels, but also include companies offering alternative lodging solutions and search options, providing inspiration for travel ideas and aggregating a range of travel solutions. The consumer peer-to-peer rental market, which is largely unbranded, has also opened up a large supply of travel accommodation. However, many of these businesses are not subject to regulations such as fire and life safety, food safety and local industry regulations, which apply to traditional hotel operators.

For booking and distribution, hotel companies also compete with the increasingly sizeable travel intermediaries.

Last updated 05 March 2015

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