|New York City (Sept. 29, 2004) – Several important shifts in consumer
behavior are impacting both business and leisure travel and leading hospitality
industry experts urged sales and marketing executives to take these changes
into account in order to compete for the elusive customer, especially in
the recovering economy.
The event, titled “The Morphing of the Business and Leisure Traveler: An Insight into Changing Attitudes and Behavior,” left hospitality professionals with valuable insight into the mindset of today’s business and leisure travelers and a more defined direction of the future needs as sales and marketing executives planned for the near term.
Leisure travel is leading the recovery, which according to Doug Shifflet, president and CEO of D.K. Shifflet & Associates, will not be complete until 2006. Knowing what the consumer wants and providing the products and services to meet those needs was a constant refrain of experts speaking at the Fourth Annual Industry Strategy Conference organized by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and New York University at the New York Marriott Marquis last week.
Two interactive sessions highlighted hot business and leisure topics and featured a versatile line-up of panelists.
The conference explored shifts in travel patterns, product design, and consumer segments relative to leisure and business travel, as sales and marketing professionals gained valuable insights into current and future trends and market segments, as well as ideas and solutions that will impact their 2005 planning.
Jim Carroll, a leading international futurist, trends and innovation expert, delivered the thought provoking keynote address at the opening session entitled: “What Comes Next with Business and Leisure Travel (and what should you do about it)?” In referring to the future, Carroll emphasized that “The only certainty is uncertainty, and that is the context that drives all consumer and business travel decisions”.
Carroll noted that change has accelerated as a result of “The Perfect Storm” with the convergence of the dot-com collapse, September 11, and the corporate/ethical scandals causing businesses to view clear opportunities, such as the internet, new emerging markets and globalization, as threats, rather than embracing them and using them to our advantage.
Carroll said the new emerging generation is the “Boomerang Generation” where the children are all returning to their parent’s homes to live long after they have graduated from college.
Pointing out that the defining characteristic that is driving industry today as “Aggressive Indecision,” Carroll urged attendees to make the “fundamental relationship change” of being consultants or partners with their customers, guiding them into decisions that best suit their needs, rather than functioning as smooth-talking sales people.
Carroll also defined five important trends for the audience to take into consideration when making important decisions:
The study revealed that business travel recovery has begun in 2004 with an increase in the number of transient meeting nights, and should accelerate into 2005, but not be complete until 2006.
Shifflet also stated that business room nights generated by Generation X are quickly becoming the major business travel force, with the Internet being the purchase channel of choice for certain business segments.
The event’s first group of panelists was moderated by Maureen O’Hanlon, partner, The Prism Partnership and chair of HSMAI, and featured Daren Kingi, market director of sales, Marriott Hotels; Rick Cunningham, director, corporate business development, InterContinental Hotel Group; Richard Markus, general manager, supplier relations, Expedia Corporate Travel; and Ben Mutzabaugh, travel reporter and columnist, USA Today.com.
Some of the session’s most intriguing highlights were as follows:
The leisure travel panel discussion featured moderator Sal Dickinson, CHME, chief executive, Dickinson & Associates, and included Dale Brill, senior vice president marketing, Visit Florida; Laura Begley, style director, Travel & Leisure Magazine; and Jeff Kinder, senior vice president hospitality and leisure, Cendant Travel Distribution Services and NEAT Group.
Highlights of this roundtable included:
Among the challenges addressed by Rach were:
HSMAI is an organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales and marketing management disciplines. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising nearly 7,000 members worldwide, with 41 chapters in the Americas region.
The Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University is a dynamic and growing educational and research center founded in July of 1995. The Tisch Center offers an extensive complement of hospitality, tourism and sports management academic programs of study including two bachelor’s degree programs, three master’s degree programs, and certificate programs. The curriculum focus is on asset management, financial analysis, destination management, marketing and customer relationship management.
Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300
McLean, VA 22102
|Also See:||Hotel Yield Management Professionals Ponder Future; HSMAI Revenue Management Strategy Wrap Up / July 2004|
|Key Issues Facing Online Marketers in Europe - IMHI Hotel Internet Marketing Strategy Conference Wrapup / July 2004|