Almost 80% see future Swiss hospitality industry growth as negative – Opportunities in health tourism
Increasing regulatory pressure and difficult access to debt financing from banks challenge the industry
Zurich, 17 June 2015
Only one-quarter of hotels surveyed exceeded revenue and guest number expectations for 2014. Almost 80% expect negative development in the Swiss hospitality sector over the next two to three years, but see strong growth potential in health tourism. Measures to further improve competitive positioning include attractive amenities with excellent service, targeted marketing focused on customer retention and a social media presence. A clear strategy for meeting the desires of Generation Y is lacking. For the Deloitte 2015 Swiss Hospitality Study, “Tourism destination Switzerland – Quo vadis?” Deloitte surveyed the owners and managers of 32 Swiss hotel companies in the luxury and middle class segments.
Switzerland qualifies as one of the world's most attractive tourist destinations, and has ranked towards the top of the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranking for many years.1 The Deloitte study provides indications as to how hoteliers can continue to market Switzerland as an attractive and established holiday destination in the future.
Measures to improve competitive standing – Price discounts play a subordinate role
The decrease in overnights from neighbouring countries (-23.5%) was almost identical from 2008 to 2014 to the drop in value of the Swiss franc (-23.3%). Deloitte identified the following key measures for Swiss hospitality to survive in international competition: attractive amenities with excellent service, targeted marketing focused on customer retention and a social media presence. These are areas in which the survey participants wish to continue to improve. “It was clear, however, that most hotels lack a clear strategy for conquering the ever more important Generation Y,” says Stefan Lagana, Director in the Hospitality Industry of Deloitte in Switzerland. Price discounts play a relatively subordinate role, and are generally offered indirectly via packages or special arrangements.
1 Source: Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015, The World Economic Forum
Source: Deloitte 2015 Swiss Hospitality Study: “Tourism destination Switzerland – Quo vadis?”
Industry health tourism trend – Growth opportunity
A central trend in Swiss hospitality is rising traveller interest in health tourism, for both medical services and wellness tourism. Karine Szegedi, Partner Consumer Business for Deloitte in Switzerland adds: “Around 15% of the hotel companies surveyed plan to expand their activities in the area of health tourism. They are facing a number of challenges, however, such as the lack of qualified staff and current work and hygiene regulations.”
Increasing importance of eCommerce – Homepage remains key
More than 90% of survey participants view their own hotel website as a central instrument for customer interaction. Travel agencies are also cited as important multipliers by more than 70%, with their relevance strongly dependent on the country of origin of the client. More than 50% ranked online travel sites as important distribution channels.
Difficult access to financing – Private investors in the luxury segment
Around 80% rate access to debt financing through banks as difficult. Most of the hotels surveyed therefore rely on internal financing, such as from accumulated earnings and depreciation. Private investors play a strong role in the luxury segment in particular, when it comes to rapid, short-term access to financing.
Increasing regulatory pressures – Reduced room for manoeuvre
Around two-thirds of survey participants are not able to respond quickly enough to sudden market changes because the state collective labour agreement in the hospitality industry leaves too little flexibility when it comes to wages and salaries. Value added tax is perceived as complex and time-consuming, and the lack of qualified workers is already a challenge today: the great majority of personnel are recruited from nearby countries outside the European Union.
About the Deloitte 2015 Swiss Hospitality Study
The Deloitte 2015 Swiss Hospitality Study is the first survey of its kind and is based on personal discussions with owners and managers of 32 Swiss hotel companies from across Switzerland in the luxury and middle class segment, primarily in the holiday hotel sector. The survey was conducted in Q4 2014 and Q1 and Q2 2015.
About Deloitte in Switzerland
Deloitte is a leading accounting and consulting company in Switzerland and provides industry-specific services in the areas of audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory. With approximately 1,300 employees at six locations in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano and Zurich (headquarters), Deloitte serves companies and institutions of all legal forms and sizes in all industry sectors. Deloitte AG is a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, the UK member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL). DTTL member firms comprise of approximately 210,000 employees in more than 150 countries around the world.
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