hotel
918 days ago
 

How many hotels in the world are there anyway? Booking.com keeps adding them

Booking.com says it offers 202,842 hotels globally and a new report says the Priceline Group — Booking.com, Agoda and Priceline.com — collectively is adding properties at a quickening pace.

Meanwhile, Booking.com’s market share in Europe is believed to be considerably less than 10% and officials say there is plenty of room to grow there — let alone in developing countries in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa.

So how many hotels are there in the world?

And, what is the ceiling for Priceline, Expedia and other online hotel distributors?

When will they be “done?”

The number likely is anyone’s guess and much of it hinges around your definition of a “hotel.”

STR Global estimates that there are 187,000 hotels, offering 17.5 million guest rooms, around the globe.

The company defines hotels as properties that are rented nightly, with seasonality taken into account, and having a specified number of rooms.

Due to the legacy of how STR came to be through acquisitions, its estimate includes properties with 20 rooms or more in the US only and 10 rooms and more throughout the rest of the world.

“We are confident in these numbers, but also release them with the caveat that it is an ever-changing landscape with the explosive growth going on in some parts of the world (China, India etc.),” says Jeff Higley, an STR spokesperson.

That definition, of course, leaves out perhaps hundreds of thousands of other “hotels,” including properties with less than 20 rooms, motels, hostels, residence hotels, apartment hotels, B&Bs, inns, guest houses and chateaus.

And, then there are vacation rentals and timeshares — plus the peer-to-peer market of condos, apartments, houseboats and couches.

Other less-than-scientific guesstimates put the number of hotels around the world at around 400,000, with an additional 100,000 or so if you include B&Bs and hostels etc.

In a similar vein, one of the global distribution systems informally uses 500,000 as a guide to the number of hotels in the world, although this number would exclude hostels, guest houses and motels.

So, clearly there is plenty of headroom for Priceline around the world, and its Booking.com and Agoda units may be increasing their lead over Expedia by adding properties at a faster pace so far in 2012 than they did toward the end of last year.

That’s the conclusion drawn by the Susquehanna Financial Group, which uses a proprietary tracker to keep tabs how many hotels sister companies Booking.com, Agoda and Priceline.com are adding on a weekly basis.

“Tracking supply additions is important because this can act as a leading indicator to transactions (equivalent to additional selection in e-commerce terms), typically leading to improved conversion/customer experience on the platform and larger share of market over time,” analyst Herman Leung wrote in a note to investors.

The Priceline Group’s supply included 200,900 hotels through March 19, Susquehanna estimates, and during the first quarter it was adding about 1,541 properties (hotels, apartment hotels, motels, hostels, residence hotels, B&Bs and guest houses) per week.

And, that is considerably faster than the 1,229 properties the group added weekly during the fourth quarter of 2011, Susquehanna says.

Europe was leading the charge while growth in Asia was relatively flat and North America was lagging, according to the Susquehanna numbers.

Hotel additions in Europe, largely Booking.com turf, increased about 82% in the first quarter to more than 852 hotels per week while hotel additions in Asia, where Agoda sets up shop, increased by five properties per week to 385 compared with the fourth quarter, the Susquehanna tracker found.

Priceline’s strongest markets in Europe are Italy, Germany, France and Spain, while China is its leader in Asia, followed by Thailand and India, Susquehanna says.

In North America, Priceline’s hotel additions slowed by about 21% to 180 per week during the first quarter of 2012 compared with the fourth quarter of 2011, Susquehanna found.

So, how has Priceline accomplished such a hotel build-up around the world?

Does the answer revolve around technology, commissions, word of mouth and/or reach?

Perhaps.

But, it is undeniable that Priceline has been increasing its global workforce at a torrid pace, more than doubling it since the first quarter of 2010, when Priceline employed around 2,266 people.

Through January 31, 2012, Priceline employed 5,000 people, including 4,000 outside the US.

And, lots of them are working on building the hotel business.

 
 
Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.

 

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  1. Dennis Bailey

    Our hotel database consists of verified records for 146,578 hotels.

     
  2. Chris

    It’s an interesting question.

    Looking at our database, considering a hotel as anyone who calls themself a hotel, we track around 386000 hotels worldwide. Including hostels etc, we see around 520000. We see around 390000 properties with online availability of some kind.

    As Florian points out, some countries are underrepresented by most Western directories.

    We’ve created an interface to allow broad answers to these questions, available at http://api.hotelsbase.org/statistics.php . Our data is merged from a number of sources so we have a small number of duplicates, we estimate around 2%.

     
  3. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    More fodder: In its roadshow presentation before going public, TripAdvisor claimed to list 520,000 hotels. http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/AMDA-MMXS5/1686710145x0x529409/3a1ef4a9-d026-4df3-a44e-b7595b8eef6a/TripAdvisor_Roadshow.pdf

     
    • VJ

      They don’t cite a source for that count and I wonder how much of it based on telephone directory counts of businesses that appear in the “Hotel” category. The Indian example comes to mind here obviously.

      On a more serious note though, what do you guys make of all these aggregators who are aggregating each other? I heard of a South Korean company that claims to have 60 aggregators and having worked with about 20, I know how painful it can be so don’t see how their claim can be accurate. With the GDSes adding aggregators as well it looks like everyone will have pretty much all the “online” content out there and the winners are only going to be those who have the direct deals with hotels. Where does the aggregation cycle stop I wonder.

      In this meta aggregation jigsaw, it always amazes me that the hotel who actually owns the product never gets a mention. I don’t think I would be a very happy hotelier if all my suppliers were aggressively driving my rates down, pimping my products all over the place and to cap it all, being bombared by TP reviews from people who don’t even know where the hotel is let alone having stayed there.

       
      • Nikolai Avrutov

        @VJ,

        We think that what you are seeing is part of a new standard, where access to content via XML is a given. I don’t think it has to have adverse effect on hoteliers – as long as the system gets their rooms filled it’s like they have an army of sales people at zero cost. From a technological perspective though, the winners will be those who can effectively manage these numerous connections.

        By acquiring a technology that allows instant and sophesticated management of numerous resources (l am talking about wholesalers, not GDS) – OTAs and other travel operations can substantially enhance their offering – by rapidly responding to client needs, and connecting specialized regional suppliers. In short – access to and management of content is king!

         
    • Florian Harkort

      Fascinating discussion…

      Just to add some data points:
      * TripAdvisor claims to have some 555,000+ hotels (www.tripadvisor.com/PressCenter-c4-Fact_Sheet.html)
      * Trivago, the hotel meta-search engine, claims to have some 550,456 Hotels (unique properties) from 111 Hotel booking sites
      * HomeAway claims to have some 260,000 vacation rentals on HomeAway.com and some “640,000 paid vacation rental home listings” throughout its network (www.homeaway.com/info/about-us/company-info)
      * AirBnB claims to have some 100,000+ listings worldwide (www.airbnb.com/home/about)If

      I guesstimate that the worldwide number of “commercial places to stay” (regardless how small it is) can easily be in the 1-4M range.

      Who offers more? :-)

       
      • Florian Harkort

        Obviously, TripAdvisor has (despite its 555,000 property listings) a quite weak coverage in many countries. If you compare listings with national populations there are huge differences:

        * US: 136,000 listings, 313M people, i.e. 2,300 people/listing (benchmark)
        * India: 15,000 listings, 1,200M people, i.e. 80,000 people/listing
        * Indonesia: 3,900 listings, 240M people, i.e. 61,500 people/listing
        * Russia: 2,600 listings, 143M people, i.e. 55,000 people/listing

        Of course these figures are not directly comparable, but I think it’s clear that TA only covers a fraction of what’s actually there on a global level.

         
  4. VJ

    Restaurants in India like to call themselves “hotel” and I used to find this bewildering but got used to it over the years. I wonder what the global hotel count would be if these got included. It would certainly make all the giants in this space look tiny.

     
  5. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Guillaume: So how many hotel ROOMS are there in the world, then? Just kidding. I don’t want to know, but that’s a great point.

    Also, doesn’t Expedia’s Venere have the commission model as part of its repertoire?

     
  6. RJ

    As previously mentioned here it is the work force and intensive hiring of sales people. Add the freelance translators, content managers, coupled with nets of keywords and budgets for google and local languages & currencies and a lot of testing and an immediate response from customer services (you dial someone answers, no machines) plus pay at the hotel model. … It all makes it a successful business and makes hoteliers happy. Do only what really matters philosophy and become THE reference for accommodation searching.

     
  7. Nikolai Avrutov

    My pleasure JJ,

    I think that booking.com should have 0 duplicates, since they are relying on direct hotel contracting – not sure if they are working with Pegs or anyone else…

    Regardless of what they’ve got – they real question is how anyone else – large, midsize or small – can effectively compete against them – and standardized multi-resource system is the key to my opinion.

    The Asian accommodations market indeed remains largely offline, even though quite a few suppliers (existing and new) are actively working on changing this. It won’t be too long before Asian inventory becomes widely available online – and until then, it remains a terrific growth opportunity for new as well as established online travel operations.

    Regards,

    Nikolai

     
  8. Croatian Webiny launches cloud services for travel agencies

    [...] if the service will be offered in other languages, and if hospitality industry would opt in (there are around 200 000 hotels in the world). But then again, they sell nicely via booking.com and other travel [...]

     
  9. JJ

    Are they not counting content twice as they are getting it from multiple sources ? Does anyone know the current GDS stats for content ?

     
    • Nikolai Avrutov

      They certainly do. We based our calculation following our data standardization effort, effectively removing any type of content duplication (95% accuracy), with the resulting list of 250,000 unique properties.
      But that’s only 20 suppliers.

       
      • JJ

        Nikolai my understanding was the GDS/Pegs have 105K and I assumed 95% of the content for an OTA came from the GDS as its primary content source so the extra is counting twice the same hotel ?

         
        • Nikolai Avrutov

          JJ,
          Pegs has just over 90K hotels in total. GDS inherently has quite limited content, constantly grappling with the challenge of integrating new hotel resources to their legacy systems.

          OTAs use a variety of content resources, ranging from direct hotels contracting (something only giants can afford), to channel managers, and of course hotel wholesalers.

          GDS hotels are mostly relevant to corporate sector, with highly unfavorable rates, but very convenient cancellation policies.
          Pegs is quite expensive to license, and while it is great when it comes to negotiating with hotel chains, it is only part of the whole picture.

          Hotel wholesalers play a key role for numerous OTAs, providing easy XML connection, and diverse inventory.

          The challenge is what to do with content duplication once you combine 4-5 hotel wholesalers.
          - Enter content standardization (a rare, and difficult to achieve element).

          Took us about a year and a half to figure out how to standardize not only hotel names, but also classes, room types, etc’.

          Once you have this in place – sky is the limit, and you can move forward with the integration of numerous resources.
          While there are about 10 major global hotel wholesalers, there are tens of others providing specialized and region specific inventory – often with amazing, unavailable elsewhere rates. New resources available via an XML constantly appear.

          New or growing OTAs can actually win the content/price/availability game by working with multiple suppliers simultaneously, with enough room for 15%-25% margins.
          - An interesting project we are doing for a new Russian OTA demonstrates, how 8 hotel wholesalers (for start) can offer comparable to booking.com quantity and quality of hotel product.

           
          • JJ

            Nikolai,

            Fantastic insight thank you so much for sharing. Last question of the 200K booking.com claims how many would you say are duplicates ? In Asia I have heard multiple sources saying only 25% of hotels are distributed via the GDS/OTA’s

             
  10. Nikolai Avrutov

    Having combined the static data of 20 hotel wholesalers into a single unique-property data base, we count about 250,000 properties across the globe.

    Over the last 14 months, we also observed numerous local wholesalers offering access to their inventory via XML API – adding a substantial amount of hotels to the global pool.

    All together – we agree with the GDS estimate of some 500,000 unique hotel properties allowing to book rooms online.

    :-)

     
    • Anil Varghese

      @Nikolai Fully agree with local or regional wholesalers adding a lot more to the count – they’ve contributed huge numbers to HotelHub.

      As on today, on HotelHub – we have a shade more than 225,000 **unique** hotels worldwide – combining GDS + non-GDS + hotel direct. And, few thousands are in the de-duplication process.

      Surely, we haven’t integrated half the world’s hotels on our system already – should be closer to one-third. I would guesstimate the total worldwide hotel count to be closer 700,000.

       
      • Nikolai Avrutov

        @Anil, do you have all of your suppliers listed on your website? I only noticed a few…

        225,000 unique is nice – you are coming closer. Of course, key for future growth for you would be to figure out how to automate the de-duplication process. Doing it manually (as we learned at our first stages) is borderline impossible, especially when speed and integration of non-standard XMLs (which is often the case with specialized suppliers) is required.

        Once you guys figure it out – you really should look at other products too. We at http://www.carsolize.com find that the greatest value we are able to deliver to our clients, is a single point of access to all of their resources – across different product categories – hotels, flights, cars, etc’.

        Full economy of scale can be achieved as soon as a single system provides an agent with a seamless environment to manage, search, and book a complete suite of products for the traveler, combine all segments onto a single order.

         
        • Anil Varghese

          Yes, there are few more which haven’t made it to website yet!
          At HotelHub, we take weekly datafeeds from major suppliers and these updates are productionised within a few hours. Our automated matching process learns and improves over time. We naturally have a manual validation where the automated matches fail or return a low match score. As a result we’re fairly confident that our database has less than 0.0025% duplicates.

          With TMC/business travel being our major customer segment, who may need to book a hotel that does not exist in our database, we offer a 2 hour turnaround (subject to a SLA, of course) to make the hotel bookable. In fact, this capability initiated our “Any hotel, anywhere, anytime” tagline!

           
          • Nikolai Avrutov

            Anil,
            What % of your content is coming from GDS/Pegs connection? Which wholesalers do you have connected?

            As a business-travel oriented technology, I assume that most of your content is coming from there?

             
  11. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Henjo: Booking.com declined to comment for this article on how it signs up hotels so fast. Priceline’s tremendous hiring ramp up has something to do with it. If you look at the respective hotel sign-up pages, Booking.com vs. Expedia, Booking.com’s looks much simpler. And a lot may have to do with hoteliers talking to hoteliers about their experiences with Booking.com. Incentives? I don’t have any details. Perhaps some hoteliers closer to the situation might chime in here.

     
    • Guillaume

      Booking.com works on “free sales” so it’s easier to contract a hotel with the commissionable model where the money transaction happens at the hotel at the check out rather than the merchant model (eg Expedia) where hotel receive money from the merchant much later after the check out.

       
  12. Henjo

    I wonder how they are going about increasing their portfolio of hotels. Is it happening automatically now? ie hotels are signing up? Are they offering incentives to hotels?

     
  13. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Happy Hotelier: Yes, I know. Booking.com includes small hotels, motels, inns, B&Bs, guest houses, residences, apartment hotels etc. So, in your experience, what’s your guestimate as to how many such properties there are in the world? Is Booking.com 10% there?

     
    • Guillaume

      Hi Dennis, Guido,

      My guess estimate is that there are abotu 500K hotel properties around the world, not including the Hilton hotel currently being built on the Moon :-)

      So it sounds like Booking.com works with 40% of the hotel industry.

      But to be fair, this metric is not really the important one.

      The important metric is how many rooms Booking.com distribute on their website compared to all rooms available in the world.

      If a hotel works with Booking.com and only allocate 2 rooms to them on average per day out of 40 rooms, the uptake is less glamorous with only 5% inventory available on Booking.

       
  14. Happy Hotelier

    Booking.com has many properties listed with less than 20 rooms

     
 
 

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