Barcelona’s 5-star hotels tourists

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An analysis of ratings and type of tourists based on more than 6,200 reviews. This study was conducted through the extraction, refinement, visualization and subsequent analysis of a total of 6,260 comments and ratings recorded during the year 2010 in the travel portals Atrápalo.com , Booking.com, Hotels.com and Tripadvisor.com.

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Barcelona’s 5-star hotels tourists

  1. 1. The Project .................................................................................................................................... 3About the data analyzed ............................................................................................................... 3Methodology ................................................................................................................................. 3Key issues ...................................................................................................................................... 5 Beach hotels, city center hotels and traditional hotels: who prefer which? ............................ 5 It’s August? Then 5-star hotels in Barcelona speak French ...................................................... 5 Barcelona’s luxury hotels: a matter of couples ......................................................................... 5 Credit crunch also affects 5-star hotels tourists? ..................................................................... 6 Summer in the city? Not so good for 5-star hotels tourists ...................................................... 6 Does the rating change depending on the type of hotel? ........................................................ 6 Groups: those great unknown .................................................................................................. 6 Which country is the most demanding? ................................................................................... 7 Mature Anglo-Saxons, young Mediterraneans ......................................................................... 7Beach hotels, city center hotels and traditional hotels: who prefer which? ................................ 8It’s August? Then 5-star hotels in Barcelona speak French .......................................................... 9Barcelona’s luxury hotels: a matter of couples ........................................................................... 10Credit crunch also affects 5-star hotels tourists? ....................................................................... 12Summer in the city? Not so good for 5-star hotels tourists ........................................................ 13Does the rating change depending on the type of hotel? .......................................................... 14Groups: those great unknown .................................................................................................... 16Which country is the most demanding? ..................................................................................... 17Mature Anglo-Saxons, young Mediterraneans ........................................................................... 19Data 1.0 on Barcelona’s tourism ................................................................................................. 21Data 1.0 vs Data 2.0 .................................................................................................................... 23
  2. 2. Although Barcelona is sometimes known as a tourist destination low cost, in 2009, 13.6% oftourists who stayed at Barcelona did it in 5-star hotels. We wondered if we could profile thesetourists, meet their consumption patterns by discriminating certain variables such as nationalityor type of traveler thus obtaining an analysis that allows us to draw conclusions that helpcompanies and institutions to know them better and to guide and optimize their products andservices.  Universe: tourists staying at 5-star hotels of Barcelona (880,740 in 2009 according to Barcelona City Council’s data).  Sample: 6,260 registers of ratings and comments on 5-star hotels of Barcelona registered in 2010 at Tripadvisor, Hotels.com, Booking, Atrápalo.  Margin of error (with p=q=50% and a confidence interval of 95%): 1.2%Data sources: Tripadvisor, Hotels.com, Booking, Atrápalo, OpenDataBCNNOTE: this sample is based on single unique users, whilst the universe shows total number oftourists, but we have to take into account that for each rating register there is more than onetorusits behind.This study was conducted through the extraction, refinement, visualization and subsequentanalysis of a total of 6,260 comments and ratings recorded during the year 2010 in the travelportals Atrápalo.com , Booking.com, Hotels.com and Tripadvisor.com. Consequently, it isimportant to highlight that conclusions that can be drawn are conditional on the usual profile of aconsumer who believes and participates in web 2.0, ie there is a profile of tourists staying in 5star hotels in Barcelona that can not be represented in this analysis. Therefore, this is a studythat focuses exclusively on tourists 2.0, although it has to be said, they are becoming more
  3. 3. numerous and therefore it is gradually a more relevant sample for the whole tourism industry inBarcelona.To compare the bias of this study regarding the reality of the tourism sector of 5-star hotels inBarcelona, it is interesting to analyze some data 1.0, comparing it with the data 2.0 that we havecollected.
  4. 4.  British, German and Dutch are concentrated mainly in hotels of Ciutat Vella’s seafront. American tourists tend to be located in those hotels located in the city center, in the column Passeig de Gràcia-Rambles. French and Italian split their stay between different areas of city, but staying more at traditionally preferred hotels by business travelers (Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I and Grand Hotel Princesa Sofia). Spanish tourists prefer the more traditional hotels, those they identify as the typical Barcelona’s 5-star hotels. French and Italian are only ones who have the month of August as the first month of choice for their stay in Barcelona. The French are the first nationality in 5-star hotels in August, outstripping even the Spanish. Americans reduced their number in the month of August, with the months of September and October as which with a greater number of visitors. Japanese and Germans have a total lack of seasonality, with almost the same number of tourists throughout the year. There is a widespread downward trend during the month of June, with January and December as the weakest for most nationalities. Couple were the main type of traveler staying at 5-star hotels in Barcelona in 2010. Travelling-alone tourists were the second category, clearly explained by business tourism. Barcelona is increasingly positioned as a family destination, but also for stag parties or friends gatherings. There is a significant seasonality around the month of August and the rest of the summer months in the case of couples and families with children. For business travelers, the seasonality is almost nonexistent, with the period between March and November as the one of greatest activity.
  5. 5.  5-star hotels tourists are showing some signs of impact of the economic crisis. The worst overall score is taken by the criterion value for money. Cleaning and staff are top rated items. Food and location are respectively the other worst rated criteria. 5-star hotels in Barcelona receive a worse rating during the summer months. July and August experience the worst ratings for most nationalities, with the exception of Italians and Germans. Japanese, Americans and French show a significant dissatisfaction in the months of July and August. Countries with higher per capita income (such as Canada, Norway, Sweden and Austria) show rating values with higher scores. Countries such as Spain and Portugal provide the lowest scores. Traditional hotels get an average rating lower than those hotels recently built. The newly established hotels are freshest and most innovative in terms of commercial proposals and customer services. The traditional luxury hotel seems not to renew their services so often but choose to capitalize on its brand image and reputation abroad. There is no direct relationship between poor scores and a lesser number of customers at those hotels. Luxury hotels are not trying to attract groups as customer target. Groups, usually associated with leisure, tend to have a high seasonal concentration on the summer months. Americans are by far the nationality that travels the most in group. There is a high volatility in ratings given by groups.
  6. 6.  Spain is the country that gives a lower rating to 5-star hotels in Barcelona. France is the country that best scores the different rating criteria of luxury hotels in Barcelona. There is no equal pattern for the rating criteria given by tourists based on their country of origin. The Germans are the scoring with a lower note most criteria separately but as a whole give a higher mean to the hotel to other countries. There is no common pattern among all countries surveyed referred to the type of customer that stays at 5-star hotels in Barcelona. There are important differences between continental Europe - with the exception of Germany - and the Anglo-Saxon countries. Couples without children - in some cases young people and other adults - are distributed in all cases the first place in terms of type of client. Germans are the tourists who stay the most at 5-star hotels for work purposes.
  7. 7. Although the 23 5-star hotels located in the Barcelona area are basically concentrated in twodistricts (Ciutat Vella and Eixample), however within this highly specialized space there arelocations that have the ability to attract one or the other tourists depending on their nationality.Specifically, we can distinguish between three types of hotels: those in the line of the waterfront,whose main attraction is the proximity to the beach; those located in the center of the city,especially in the Eixample, near the main attractions; and finally 5-star hotels more traditional,older, mainly located in the district of Les Corts, so more distant from the downtown.But is there any pattern identifiable and generalizable that carries tourists to choose hotels insome of these types according to their country of origin? Although the conclusions that can bederived are not absolute, certain concentration trends are identified for major nationalities thatvisit Barcelona. On the one hand, British tourists, Germans and Dutch clearly choose the four 5-star hotels located on the waterfront of Ciutat Vella (W Barcelona, Eurostars Grand MarinaHotel, Hotel Arts and Pullman Barcelona Skipper). On the other hand, put the Americans,despite having significant presence in the W Barcelona, they tend to be located in those hotelslocated in the city center, in the column Passeig de Gràcia-Rambles, with the hotel Le Méridienas their favorite. For his part, French and Italians show less defined patterns, and divide theirstay between different areas of the city, although they tend to focus on the more traditionalhotels (Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I and Gran Hotel Princesa Sofía), historically preferred bybusiness travelers. In the case of the Italians, it’s remarkable its weak presence on thewaterfront hotels.Finally, a special mention for the Spanish tourists, who very clearly, prefer the more traditionalhotels, those that identify as Barcelona’s typical 5-star hotels since ever. Except for the case ofthe W Barcelona hotel, their presence in the beach area is more limited and after the district ofLes Corts, they tend to concentrate in the column of Eixample.
  8. 8. Seasonality is a characteristic intrinsic to tourism. Traditionally, summer months build a greaterflow of tourists in Barcelona, which leads to difficulties in generating stability in employment andincome throughout the year. However, in recent years, Barcelona has become a less seasonaltourist destination, attracting a significant number of tourists almost all year. This is particularlyrelevant in the case of tourists who stay in 5-star hotels, as show some interesting conclusionsderived from our analysis, such as that only the French and the Italians held the month ofAugust as their favorite month to stay in Barcelona. In fact, the French case is paradigmatic,since in August managed to become the first national even over the Spanish. The pattern isvery clear, in August, nearly triple the number of tourists staying at 5-star hotels compared tothe average of the rest of the year. In the case of the Italians, the behavior is similar, thoughless dramatic, but with the month of August as the most common by far. The British kept thesummer months as the most common, but without an extreme concentration in August, withJune, July and August are the favorite months, and fall as a clear slowdown station.But the other nationalities show completely different patterns that break with the topic ofsummer tourism and its associated seasonality. Especially interesting is the case of Americans,who educe the number of visits in the month of August, being in the months of September andOctober when they have a greater number of visitors. For their part, Japanese and Germanshave a total lack of seasonality, with a very flat trend, which leads them to have virtually the
  9. 9. same number of tourists throughout the year, with September and October only slightly raisedover the average. Finally, the case of Spanish tourists, who face almost endemic seasonalitycaused by the traditional August vacation, have a very unstable pattern, with peaks at Easter,July and November, which in 2010 was the busiest month.Overall, there is a general trend downward during the month of June, and it’s confirmed that themonths of January and December are the weakest for most nationalities.  5-star hotels in Barcelona are almost exclusively field for couples that monopolize the mostovernight stays according to the analysis. This data may not be too surprising, however, withinthe typology of couples, the greatest number correspond to young couples. By type of traveler,those traveling alone accounted for the second category, clearly explained by the businesstourism, which is very important in Barcelona, and often linked to this type of hotel. It is alsointeresting the large number of tourists who stay with their children and groups of friends.
  10. 10. Barcelona is increasingly positioned as a family destination, but also for stag parties orgatherings of friends, among whom, as it is see, increasingly those with greater purchasingpower.On the analysis of 5-star hotels tourists by type of traveler, it may also be of interest to identifypatterns based on seasonality. To determine whether certain types of tourists are concentratedin certain months or not, and thus linking commercial policies aimed to increase employment inthe lower seasons.In this sense, the analysis of the data shows a very important seasonality around the month ofAugust and the rest of the summer months in the case of couples and families with children. Butalso highlights two peak months, May and November, and shows a general decline during themonth of June. For business travelers, the seasonality is almost nonexistent, with the months ofMarch and November as the period of greatest activity and the month of September as thehighest peak, coinciding with the busiest time of trade exhibitions in Barcelona.
  11. 11. The impact of economic crisis on consumption is unquestionable and although tourism hasbeen one of the first sectors to show signs of recovery in Barcelona, it is interesting to observehow the tourists with, supposedly, a greater purchasing power show some signs of impact of thecrisis. Specifically, the analysis of the ratings given to the 5-star hotels in Barcelona in 2010,derives that the worst overall score is taken by the criterion value for money. Thus, it appearsthat 5-star hotels in Barcelona have an excessive price for the expectations of tourists,something that could be preoccupant in terms of competitiveness with other destinations, or thatthis type of tourists has also increased its sensitivity to the price factor due to the crisis. Bothscenarios are plausible and require responses by the hotel industry because it is a clear sign ofmismatch between supply and demand.The analysis of the different criteria shows that cleaning and staff are top rated items, while, inaddition to value for money, location is the other worst rated criteria. The low rating scoredreceived by the location criterion may have much to do with the tourists concentrationexperienced by districts like Ciutat Vella and the Eixample, and the impact on the average ratingof hotels located far from downtown but with a lot of weight such as the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos Iand the Gran Hotel Princesa Sofia.
  12. 12. A leisure trip in summer is a must for many tourists, leading to the occurrence of large crowds atmajor tourist attractions and therefore, experience is not so satisfactory. From the analysis, it isseen as tourists at Barcelona’s 5-star hotels are not oblivious to this dynamic, as the summermonths are those when hotels are receiving a lowest rating. Overall, July and August show theworst ratings for most nationalities, with the exception of Italians and Germans, who seem tofind in the summer in Barcelona exactly what they want.Seasonality and concentration (though declining) in those months has a negative impact on theconsumer and, therefore, hotels are also affected by elements that escape the very service theyprovide, but at the same time they also have the possibility to implement quality and marketingpolicies to avoid this situation. Identifying such periods of widespread dissatisfaction and, aboveall, determining which nationalities have a worse perception, may help them to adapt to that.Because it is also seen as Japanese, American and French show a significant dissatisfaction inJuly and August months, worrying in the case of the French who come primarily during thosemonths, which means that it is likely that they will return to their countries with little desire torepeat the experience and to recommend on their family or friends.
  13. 13. There is a trend that would normally go unnoticed if analysis of data is taken at the aggregatelevel but looking at them individually, it provides interesting information.
  14. 14. While previously we have divided the hotels located in beach areas, downtown hotels, andhotels further away, some conclusions can be drawn if the filter is focused only on traditionalhotels (with more than 20 years in the city) and more recent hotels. From the analysis, it isperceived a clear pattern - with some exceptions -, that traditional hotels get an average scorewell below that of the newest hotels. Thus, there are traditional hotels like the Hilton, the Claris,Melia, Majestic, Le Meridien or the Princesa Sofía that get results well below the average. Incontrast, newly built hotels like W Barcelona, Skipper, Hesperia Fira Suites, the Grand MarinaHotel or the Mandarin, all built during the last decade, get substantially better results. However,it is noteworthy that the leader in rating is a traditional hotel, the Palace, a traditional hotel, butthat just underwent a complete renovation in 2009.On the one hand, we can consider that hotels with more tradition in the city that are known andrecognized simply by their name do not renewal the services they offered with the sameintensity as it may have made younger hotels, which need to be positioned above theircompetitors. However, it is also true that the client profile that stays in the more traditional luxuryhotel is the most demanding customer, more traveled and usually older.Importantly, at the aggregate level there is no direct correlation between worst ratings and minorpercentage of visitors, as the district of Les Corts, where hotels with the worst rating arelocated, account over 20% of the total number of tourists staying in Barcelona’s 5-star hotels.
  15. 15. 5-star hotels are not traditionally the preferred destination for holiday groups, but increasingly,this profile of customer is found at the most luxurious hotels in Barcelona, but still far from otherprofiles in quantitative terms.It is interesting to note several things. The first is the high seasonality for groups, because thereare only data from May to November. What happens the rest of the time? Are there no groupstraveling? It would be important for hotels to note this fact and try to reduce the seasonality ofthis type of client, well with direct promotion in countries with greater affluence of this group orthrough indirect actions by providing some sort of special promotion for months with lessoccupation. As shown in the graph, all other customer profiles analyzed travel throughout theyear.Another important but less empirical observation is behind the groups is that they come mostlylooking for leisure and good weather, so they will influence the decision and its consequentreviews, in complete disagreement with other customer profiles where the summer is the worstseason of the year. From there it can be analyzed how the value curve will rise as summerarrives. In summer, ratings remain excellent and as the weather gets worse the rating goesdown again.
  16. 16. Each client is different, but a profile of those preferences most valued among countries that stayat luxury hotels in Barcelona can be drawn.Global ratings indicate that the Spanish are the customers that value 5-star hotels with a lesserrating, an average of 8.10, far away from 8.31 given by the rest of countries surveyed. TheSpanish customer is more demanding than the foreign, Spaniards are at home and thereforetend to criticize more than the foreign customer. For its part, it’s the neighboring country,France, which values hotels more positively, with an average rating of 8.40 closely followed byDutch and Americans. It is curious to see how countries with higher per capita income such asCanada, Norway, Sweden or Austria, a priori, more accustomed to 5-star hotels, show a higheraverage rating. In contrast, on the other end we find countries like Spain or Portugal, with thelowest ratings.It may be interesting to analyze ratings in aggregate, but what criteria are most important toeach country? Is there a difference between criteria and countries? A thorough analysis of thesevariables by hotels can affect the way some aspects of daily life are worked, in order to improvetheir service.It is interesting to see how Americans are the customers who give higher ratings to hotelfacilities but on the contrary they give lower ratings to hotel rooms, where European tourists
  17. 17. give highest scores, especially the British, who on the other hand value hotel facilities lesserthan no other nationality. Or how the French value with Italian hotel staff below average but onthe contrary, more than anyone appreciate the cleanliness of the hotel. Or how the Germanswho value below average most of the criteria, especially the price or the staff of the hotel, butlater in aggregate they give a rating score over other nationalities.These are just a few examples, but the potential for this type of analysis is huge for each hotelor hotel chain to focus its marketing strategy in certain variables, perhaps imperceptible to thecompetition. Knowing the specifics of each market might contribute to a successful commercialstrategy.
  18. 18. One tends to think wrongly that the profile of tourists is quite similar in all countries, that followsa standard pattern, but looking closely at the data, there are big differences between differentnationalities and for the variable type of traveler.Continental Europeans - Spanish, Italian, Dutch, French - show a profile very similar for type oftraveler, being young couples which clearly predominate over the other groups, followed byadult couples, then solo travelers at a short distance from the couples traveling with children.Extrapolating to other European countries and other Western countries, this pattern should tendto repeat. But on the contrary. Anglo tourists, both British and Americans and Germans do notfollow this profile. Thus, in these countries, adult couples, couples who travel with children andsolo travelers are groups that exceed or equal in number to the young couples who prevailed inthe countries of continental Europe.Another curious aspect of the analysis that arises is the large number of German tourists whotravel for work, a number that surpasses that of other groups such as friends or couples withchildren.
  19. 19. It is therefore a mistake to think that all countries with a similar cultural, economic or socialbackground always keep a similar profile in terms of tourism habits and profiles. It would be verysimple for professionals to think so. We cannot analyze Europe or America as a whole, thereare many roles within each country and not always the same between them.
  20. 20. Credit card spending by countries (Source: Barcelona Turisme)Distribution of tourists by category of hotel (Source: Barcelona City Council)Events at Barcelona Trade Fair in 2010 (Fuente: Fira de Barcelona)
  21. 21. Opinion about different aspects of Barcelona (on a scale of 1 to 10) (Source: BarcelonaTurisme)
  22. 22. Percentage of tourists by country of origin (Source: Barcelona Turisme, Atrápalo.com,Booking.com, Hotels.com, Tripadvisor.com)Percentage of tourists by purpose of travel (Source: Barcelona Turisme, Atrápalo.com,Booking.com, Hotels.com, Tripadvisor.com)

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