Once a discipline of an enviable combination of great social skills, good business judgment, and powers of persuasion, direct sales was many times the starting point for learning the business of hotels. A knowledgeable sales person understood how each piece of business or account had an impact on revenues in all areas not just limited to rooms and not just for the short but the long term as well.
The travel industry is growing globally but the geographical, socio-economic and technological balances are shifting. The Internet continues to be ascendant and disruptive in its ability to change the way the travel industry and its consumers operate. 2011 was marked by many dramatic challenges to tourism and the travel industry.
Before Google was formally approved to buy travel software company ITA, the company argued that the acquisition would result in “innovation” for travelers and travel search users. Beyond the appearance of flight times/routes in search results we haven’t seen much “innovation” yet. Google’s new “find hotels by travel time” experiment is, however, an example of how Google might deliver new functionality and shake things up in the intensely competitive yet paradoxically complacent travel segment.
Although U.S. online leisure/unmanaged business travel market growth continues to outpace the total travel market, the days of lightning-fast online growth are gone for good, says PhoCusWright. The share of U.S. travel booked online (i.e., online leisure/unmanaged business travel as a share of the total market) will increase to 40% by 2013, growing just one percentage point over five years. Yet despite the slowing overall growth trend, online penetration continues to vary significantly by segment.
With Improved Occupancy, Focus Turns to Pricing in 2012, According to PwC US Lodging Industry Forecast
Reflecting year-end 2011 results, an updated lodging forecast released today by PwC US anticipates pricing recovery to be the key driver of revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) growth in 2012. Despite a year that was marked by macroeconomic uncertainty, and resulting shaky consumer and business confidence, hotels in the US ended 2011 on a strong note.