More than half (55%) of hoteliers in the Choice Hotels Europe franchise group believe the hotel sector will see a sustained upturn in 2015.

This compares with just 28% who expressed a similar sentiment in 2012.

Individual market comparisons reveal that for the second year running UK hoteliers are the most confident (86%) compared to only 33% of Italian hoteliers.

The confidence boost came in findings of the fourth annual study of hoteliers’ 2015 business imperatives and industry trends.

The study of 143 franchisees, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany and Italy, found that 68% believe room rates will continue to perform well next year and 79% plan refurbishments to their properties.

Stepping up sales and marketing to attract new custom emerged as the top business priority for 2015.

When asked to predict the main industry trend for 2015, hoteliers point towards further increase in rooms booked via mobile devices (63%) followed by more growth in the franchising model (20%).

The research also revealed that 39% of UK hoteliers receive between three and five online travel reviews each week from people who have never stayed at their property.

Last year’s survey established that 63% of European hoteliers spent between one to three hours each week reading and responding to online travel reviews about their hotel.

UK chief executive Duncan Berry said that hoteliers are anticipating renewed confidence in Europe’s hotel sector with many planning refurbishments and other enhancements to their properties.

He added: “Recognising that hoteliers need to demonstrate a variety of skills and great customer service, the survey asked them to highlight examples of unusual support they have provided guests.

“Proving how versatile they are, the survey showed that 39% have given a guest CPR and liaised with paramedics, 20% have helped a wedding go smoothly by taking a high profile role at the service such as giving the bride away, 17% have consoled a bereaved family and liaised with undertakers following a death, and 10% have personally either provided their guests with hairdressing services or have done a guest’s make-up.

“Our research indicates that Choice hoteliers aren’t just providing a standard service, but that they go above and beyond the call of duty to provide guests with support and help.”