“The twin effect of the economic downturn and the increase cost in gas prices just has people more economically-minded than we have seen since 2001, “ says Rod Caborn, executive vice president, at Ypartnership, a leading consumer research firm.
Another piece of great news…except that this quote is coming from HotelMarketing.com and is directed at the hotel chains and particularly the Super 8’s and Days Inn type of properties. Higher end properties seem to be exempt from these concerns.
Others offer a more upbeat assessment of the US market. "It’s not quite as terrible as Wall Street makes it out," says Jan Frietag, vice president global development for Tennessee-based Smith Travel Research. He suggests the gloom cast by Wall Street’s credit woes has led to a "disconnect between Wall Street and the Main Street operators."
Most certainly, we in the B&B and Country Inn business would fall into the latter category…the higher end.
There is some concern out there that we may again see a round of lodging discounts as we saw post 9/11 in an attempt to fill rooms. Needless to say, that type of random discounting didn’t work and there is no reason to believe that it either is necessary or will work now.
From a series of our own phone calls, emails, and other personal contacts, we’re hearing some pretty positive things about the summer. Rates are in many cases up…advance bookings are coming in…and the consensus is that Americans will still be taking vacations, tho’ fewer will go to Europe because of the weak Dollar/Euro exchange. So where will Americans go and stay? Here at home! For 2008, we have a traveling American public and projections for more Europeans and Canadians coming to the US for their vacations. Could make for a good mix!
It’s still not too late to evaluate your rates during the shoulders and/or even to see if there is any upward mobility for measured peak season rate increases. The point is that once again, there is still time to take a look at your strategies to drive business to your inn. Look again at your site for relevant content, good pictures, creative packaging, and to be sure you are offering (your promise!) a uniquely wonderful experience to your guests.
The business this year may come with some aggravations, but creative innkeepers will be the ones to garner the lion’s share of the business in 2008. Don’t sit on the sidelines and just let things happen…be one of the movers and shakers and make things happen!
As always, we love to hear how you are seeing the market and what you are doing to be one of the movers and shakers!