News for the Hospitality Executive
May 21, 2013 - The U.S. travel industry is poised for one the strongest summers in history as demand soars and travelers reinvest in their vacation plans, said top travel executives from Best Western International and the U. S. Travel Association at the eighth annual Leisure Travel Summit in New York last week.
“We’re seeing continued demand increases and a lot of that lends back to the belief that Americans view vacation travel as a right… they want to invest in time with family and those they care about,” said Dowling. “We had solid growth last year, then improved growth this year, and it speaks to how consumers are driving this economic recovery and will continue to do so.”
Panelists agreed that travel, both domestic and inbound, is a key economic driver for the entire United States economy. The travel industry employs one out of eight Americans, and has added 398,000 jobs since the economic recovery began in early 2010 according to the U.S Travel Association. “Increases in domestic and international travel volume create a healthier U.S. economy because those travelers support millions of American jobs and generate much needed tax revenue,” said Gary Oster, U.S. Travel Association’s senior vice president, business development.
According to Bill Sutherland, AAA vice president of travel services, multi-generational travel will be very popular this year. In a recent AAA survey, nearly one-third of respondents plan to take a multi-generational trip in the next 12 months.
“Of those multi-generational travelers, 25 percent are traveling in groups of three generations, which is a very striking number,” said Sutherland. “As we go forward, the infrastructure will need to evolve to accommodate this kind of large-scale family travel.”
According to Dowling, this rise in multi-generational travel is due in large part to the fact that women are now the primary decision-makers when it comes to purchasing, a concept that Dowling refers to as the “she-conomy.”
“As women take a much more central role in families’ financial decisions, we’re seeing changes in the way people travel,” said Dowling. “Women want to invest in relationships with their family, partners, and loved ones, and they place a high value on vacations as a way to strengthen these relationships.” Dowling says that brands are recognizing the decision-making power that women represent and are increasingly investing in programs that will speak strongly to women and their families, such as Best Western’s partnership with Disney.
In addition to relationship-building, Oster said that people are starting to invest more in travel for reasons such as health and wellness, personal development and education. To educate consumers about the benefits of travel and encourage them to continue to take vacations, the U.S. Travel Association recently launched the website TravelEffect.com.
“The goal of the [TravelEffect.com] site is to provide a compelling case through research and data for why travel matters to all aspects of a person’s life,” said Oster. “We want to show people why they need to take vacation and how it can help them to be healthier, more creative, more inspired, and get more done in their everyday life.”
Panelists also said that mobile and social media offerings are continuing to grow and shape the way travelers plan their trips. “Mobile offers convenience and speed, and there are a growing number of applications to help with every step of the travel process – check-in, reservations, reviews, and so on,” said Oster. But while mobile has become a preferred channel in the research and shopping phase, most consumers are still warming to the idea of completing the transaction through their smart phone.
“Many people are weary of booking through their phone or tablet because of concerns about financial security and possible glitches, but these things are going to get worked out and then mobile will be huge. As mobile technology advances and we overcome security concerns, mobile booking is undoubtedly the way of the future,” said Sutherland.
Finally, panelists agreed that loyalty programs continue to be an integral factor in travel decisions. A recent AAA survey found that 35 percent of people consider their points program when deciding where to stay. Sutherland reinforced that this shows how important value is to travelers,.
According to Dowling, consumers’ commitment to loyalty programs is one reason Best Western did not follow suit when other hotel brands recently chose to devalue their rewards programs. “We know how important these programs are in driving preference, and we want to show our customers how much we care and value their loyalty and patronage,” she said. “By continuing to value Best Western Rewards we hope that travelers will continue to stay with us and reinvest with our family.”
ABOUT BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand made up of more than 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER® hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Now celebrating 67 years of hospitality, Best Western welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests nightly. Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales, marketing and promotional support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 15 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand’s partnerships with AAA/CAA, race car driver Michael Waltrip, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. In 2012, Best Western won a record number of awards, including AAA’s Hotel Partner of the Year, CAA’s Partner of the Year, TravelClick’s eMarketer of the Year and Compuware’s Best of the Web Gold awards.
For more information or to make a reservation, please visit bestwestern.com.
*Numbers are approximate and can fluctuate.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
ABOUT U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit www.ustravel.org. Follow us on Twitter @ustravel
Best Western International, Inc
Employment Accelerates in April; Travel Industry Has Added 85% of Jobs
Lost During the Great Recession / May 2013
Employment and Exports Numbers Confirm Travel is Leading Driver of U.S.
Growth; Travel Employment Growth Outpaces Overall Economy by 10 % /
Survey Results Reveal Entry Process Deters Millions of Overseas
Travelers to the U.S.; 100 Million Travelers Aware of Negative Entry
Experience Costing the U.S. Economy at Least $95 Billion / March
Travel Association Launches 2013 Travel Blitz; Grassroots Initiative
Will Coordinate Travel Supporters to Engage Members of Congress and
Reveal Travel's Deep Economic Impact in Communities Nationwide /
Delays, Long Lines Predicted for Travelers Due to Sequester; U.S.
Travel Association Urges Congress to Act on Looming Budget Cuts;
Launches Mobile Messaging Campaign to Empower Travelers to Make their
Voices Heard / February 2013
Travel Association Launches Multiyear Travel Effect National Advocacy
and Awareness Campaign; Effort to Include Research Projects, New
Partnerships and Effective Communications / January 2013
Travel Association Appoints John Edman, Barbara Steinfeld and Marilyn
Hannes as Chairs of State Tourism Directors, Destinations and
Attractions Councils / December 2012
Industry Adds Jobs for Twelfth Consecutive Month in November; Industry
Employment Growing 17% Faster than Rest of Economy / December 2012
Shows Travel Jobs Offer Better Career Progression and Benefits;
According to Data Collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) and Analyzed by Oxford Economics and the U.S. Travel Association
/ December 2012
Travel Industry to Add Nearly 100,000 Jobs by 2013 According to U.S.
Travel Association Projections; Domestic Leisure Travel to Increase to
Record High for 2013 / November 2012
Thompson Selected as President and CEO of Brand USA / September 2012
Exports Rise in July as Other Exports Fall; Travel Responsible for 12%
of U.S. Export Gains for 2012 / September 2012
Industry Continues to Put Americans Back to Work; Job Creation Outpaces
Rest of Economy by Nearly 30% / September 2012
Travel Association Honors Tourism Marketing Organizations with Awards
at Annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO); Diane
Shober Named 2012 State Tourism Director of the Year / August 2012
Travel Association Transitions its Marketing Outlook Forum to Travel
and Tourism Research Association; TTRA to Launch Global Travel Outlook
Conference October 25-26 in Chicago / August 2012
Industry Plays Key Role at Republican National Convention; Event
Provides Perfect Opportunity to Advance the 2012 Vote Travel Campaign
/ August 2012
Travel Industry Continues to Help Drive Country's Economic Recovery; On
Pace for Another Record-Setting Year with an 11% Increase Over 2011
/ August 2012
Industry Creating Jobs 26% Faster Than Rest of Economy / July 2012
Destination Leaders Gather for Inaugural Destination CEO Roundtable
Hosted by the U.S. Travel Association / June 2012
Union and Travel Industry Leaders Unite to Oppose Proposed San Mateo,
California County Travel Taxes; Warn that Tax Hikes will Negatively
Impact Local Economy / June 2012
Hearing Highlights U.S. Travel Industry as Key to Future Economic Growth
/ May 2012
Open Letter to the Industry on the Preservation of Government
Conferences / Roger Dow, President, U.S. Travel Association / May
Industry Continues as One of the Prime Drivers of U.S. Economic
Recovery; Travel-Generated Employment Adds 48,700 Jobs in Q1 2012,
Contributing 6.1% of all Non-Farm Jobs Added During the Same Period
/ May 2012
Shows Proposed San Mateo County, California Tax Hike will Discourage
Travel to the San Francisco Bay Area, Severely Affecting Local Economy;
Travel Industry Urges Local Residents to Vote No on Measures T, U and X
/ May 2012
Report Offers New Insight on US Travel; While Recovery Continues for
Business Travel Intentions, Americans Remain Tentative about Near-Term
Leisure Travel Plans / April 2012
Travel Association President and CEO Testifies in Support of Jobs
Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act; Urges Expansion of Visa
Waiver Program to Simplify Process for Visitors to the U.S. without
Compromising Security / March 2012
Ralenkotter, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority,
Calls for National Agenda to Strengthen Meetings Industry; Commences
Term as Chair of the U.S. Travel Association / March 2012
Employment Outpaces Rest of U.S. Economy by 34%; More than Half of the
Travel Industry Jobs Lost During Recession Have Been Recovered /
Travel Association Launches 2012 Vote Travel Campaign; Plans to have a
Significant Presence at the Upcoming Political Party Conventions and
Host Nationwide Rallies and Events to Raise Travel Industry Profile
/ January 2012
Travel Association Analysis Shows Travel Employment Rebound in December
with the Travel Industry Creating Jobs at a Faster Rate than the Rest
of the Economy / January 2012
Travel Association Issues Statement on President Obama's Jobs Speech
/ September 2011
Travel Association Discusses Impact of 9/11 on Travel Industry;
Releases Principles for Building a More Secure and Efficient U.S.
Travel System / August 2011
of Labor Department Report Shows that the Travel Industry Accounts for
More than 1 in 10 Jobs Created in 2011; Travel Jobs Continue to
Increase for Eighth Consecutive Month / August 2011
Travel Association Releases Comprehensive Analysis Proving Tourism
Promotion Campaigns Increase Visitation Resulting in More Jobs, State
and Local Tax Revenue / July 2011
Travel Association Releases New Research Results Showing 49% of
Travelers Alter Plans Due to High Travel Taxes; Launches Travel Tax
Institute / April 2011
Dow, President & CEO of the US Travel Association, Awarded the
Spirit of Hospitality Award at Destination & Travel Foundation
Dinner / February 2011