Choice Hotels Asia-Pac has reported a boom in direct online bookings in 2022 and the Choice Hotels App bookings up 61% on 2021 and 88% on 2019 respectively.

Choice Hotels Asia- Pac CEO Trent Fraser called it the “standout” performer in a strong year for the business saying it reflects the investment made in marketing during tough times.

“[Direct bookings] represent high yielding business, it’s the most efficient, so to have that up at those levels in probably the most pleasing,” Fraser told HM exclusively.

“It comes as a result of the additional investment that we placed in both above and below the line marketing throughout 2020, because we knew the market would come back and we wanted to make sure that we were there front and centre when it did.”

In 2022, Choice Hotels Australian RevPAR rose 31% on 2019, with average daily rates (ADR) up 10% on the same period. Australian revenue managed hotels had a 40% RevPAR increase in 2022 and ADR was up 10% on 2019 figures.

New Zealand has been slower to recover with a 7% RevPAR increase on 2019, and ADR for the year up 10%.

Corporate bookings have also increased across the group, with global distribution system (GDS) room nights up 42% compared to 2021.

“That’s quite a resilient segment of the market,” Fraser said.

“The first quarter of this year is as strong if not stronger than what we saw in 2002, so that’s something that I think will continue well into 2023 as well.”

In 2022, 19 new properties joined the group and Fraser says there are many more in the pipeline for 2023.

“We have a very healthy pipeline of openings; we’ve got some really exciting announcements to share shortly with hotels in different markets across the country,” Fraser said.

While 2023 will present some challenges, Fraser is confident in Choice Hotels’ marketing strategy.

“In a tightening economic environment that’s really when our brands and our value proposition stack up because independent hotels are wondering how they’re going to compete with other brands on their own,” Fraser said.

“We’ve got a really full marketing calendar this year and we’ll be executing on initiatives in line with market conditions.

“At the moment, we’re seeing no tapering of demand through the first quarter of 2023, we’re keeping an eye on April, May, June, but I think common sense would tell us that the recovery has been so strong and so positive that you would expect some tapering off towards the back end of 2023 – that’s where we’ve got marketing initiatives ready to execute.”