- Booking numbers increased by 15pc in 2016
- Revenue rose 19pc to €9,002,646
- Foreign visitors account for 90pc of bookings
- Demand exceeds supply in Galway, Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Clare, Donegal, Antrim and Kilkenny,
The Irish B&B sector is managing to compete with the threat of Airbnb and the hotel chains, saying booking demand rose 15pc.
Sector body B&B Ireland also said the number of overseas visitors choosing an Irish home stay also rose 15pc – exceeding the national figure of 10pc growth in overseas visitors.
Chief Executive Helena Healy said the group is “excited, yet cautiously optimistic, about B&B tourism in 2017”. Commenting on the results, Ms Healy attributed much of the growth to connectivity.
“The introduction of new airline routes – such as Dublin to LA and Vancouver, Cork to Madrid and Dusseldorf and Knock to Birmingham – has been a big factor in the visitor growth. These include our main markets because of the continuing popularity of the B&B product among overseas visitors – who represent over 90pc of our bookings.”
“We work with over 100 tourism & travel trade partners – such as ferry lines and tour operators – to promote the B&B product at home and abroad, in addition to our dedicated website bandbireland.com. This creates a unique channel of business for B&B owners. For example, Germany is one of the top four markets for tourism to the island of Ireland, and 50pc of German people book their holidays through a travel agent or tour operator – so trade arrangements like those we have in Germany and other overseas destinations are important for B&B Ireland to reach and influence prospective visitors.”
Ms Healy said demand for B&B Ireland accommodation exceeds supply in key areas such as Galway, Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Clare, Donegal, Antrim and Kilkenny. She added: “We would encourage B&B owners to take advantage of our booking platform. We have favourable commission rates and lower cancellation rates, and our visitors tend to stay longer. This is on top of our close relationship with tour operators and travel agencies in top markets.”
“The very strong growth in overseas visits to Ireland during 2016 is welcome news for all of us, and especially for communities across the country where tourism is a mainstay of the local economy and an important revenue generator.”