The European Union’s (EU) tourism industry is booming.
But the majority of European countries still only accept domestic bookings from the United States.
In a new study, a team of economists at the University of Warwick, UK, examined how countries’ acceptance of domestic bookers compares to their willingness to accept American bookers.
They used data from the World Travel Association (WTA) to track the acceptance of bookings made to hotels and motels in the EU from 2002 to 2013.
They found that acceptance of American bookings increased dramatically from 2006 to 2012.
The study is the first of its kind.
“The results show that the acceptance rates of bookers from the US are quite different from those from other countries,” said Professor Matthew A. Kocher, one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the Centre for International Economic Studies at Warwick.
“There are some differences between the countries and this is one of them.”
The researchers calculated that acceptance rates from American book-booking sites grew by nearly two-thirds between 2006 and 2013.
Their study looked at the acceptance and rejection rates of booking a hotel room at a single US hotel.
They estimated that between 2006 to 2013, more than 8 per cent of American hotel bookings failed to materialise.
This figure rises to nearly 14 per cent in 2013.
While acceptance rates were higher for European countries, they were still relatively low compared to the US.
“We don’t think the increase in US bookings is the only explanation,” said Prof Kochers co-author of the report and senior lecturer in economics at Warwick’s School of Economics and Management.
“For many other countries, acceptance rates are higher.
For example, the US acceptance of foreign bookings has increased in recent years, and the acceptance rate for international bookings have also risen.”
The study found that most countries had lower acceptance rates for bookings to American book companies.
“If we want to attract the best bookers in the world, we need to find places that are more welcoming to bookings of hotels,” said co-investigator Dr Daniel E. Hodge, from Warwick’s Department of Economics.
“That is why it is so important to work with US companies to set up offices here and establish business relationships.”
The authors say the research is a first step in helping to understand the role of US companies in the global hospitality industry.
“One of the main drivers of book-making in Europe is the US, and our study shows that this is not unique to the European Union,” said Dr Hodge.
“This is not the case in most other countries.
There are a lot of smaller US companies that do book hotels and other tourist-related businesses.”
The US is still the top source of bookies in the United Kingdom and Ireland, but bookmakers are finding a more competitive market in Canada, which has some of the world’s most favourable tourist conditions.
“Canada offers very attractive conditions for bookmakers.
Canada is a great place for bookies, but we also need to attract bookies from around the world,” said Kochel.
“It’s a global market and we need that international market.”