LATEST figures show that for the first time the majority of domestic holiday-makers and business travellers in the UK are booking their hotels online.
Research from the BDRC British Hotel Guest Survey reveals that 70 per cent of business travellers and 64 per cent of leisure travellers use the internet to make hotel reservations.
The trend has continued to rise steeply since 2000, when the levels were 11 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.
The number of travellers booking through individual hotel websites also continues to increase, the survey found.
The results show a pick up in short breaks - 30 million room nights in 2004 to 35 million in 2007.
But the long stay leisure market has continued to decline - 24 million room nights in 2004 to 15 million in 2007.
Total British domestic hotel demand in 2007 remained static over the previous year at approximately 109 million nights.
There has been steady growth from 94 million adult room nights in 2000 to 109 room nights in 2007.
Since 2004 business room nights have increased substantially from 48 million nights to 59 million, but leisure room nights have declined from 54 million to 50 million over the same period.
Fewer domestic frequent guests are producing a greater volume of room nights per year, making them more valuable customers: 21 per cent of frequent business travellers (21 nights a year) in 2006-07 producing on average 39.1 per cent room nights versus 18 per cent of frequent business travellers in 2007-08 producing on average 46.6 per cent room nights.
Competition in the British hotel market has intensified further. As a result of increased supply and introduction of new brands, travellers are tending to use, on average, more brands than before.
Hilton remains the number one hotel in BDRC`s Hotel Brand Ranking Index (business and leisure), but of the well-established chains, Radisson has shown the biggest growth over the last 12 months.