In a couple of separate articles and reports that came out in late July, there are some important facts and trends for innkeepers to note.
In an article entitled The Purpose-Driven Vacation published on Hotelmarketing.com discusses a study of travelers by American Express Travel that looked at travel motivators. There’s been a lot of talk in the past year about how Americans view travel and vacation almost as a human right that they’re not likely to relinquish easily. The fact of the matter is that we like to travel, a lot, and many of us are driven by a desire “to pursue travel experiences that allow [us] to indulge [our] personal interests despite the softening economy.”
Are we in a recession? Who knows for sure, but 90% of those surveyed felt that the US economy is either in or close to one. And, despite that, 60% said that because travel is so “important to their mental health and lifestyle … they have not let economic concerns impact their plans.” This sounds great, but can it be true?
Smith Travel Research, in its Quarterly Lodging Review for the 2nd quarter of 2008, suggests that it is true. Nationally, occupancy is down over the same quarter in 2007 a modest 2.5% with the largest decline (9.9%) in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach, VA area and the greatest increase (17.9%) not surprisingly in New Orleans. More importantly, however, is the fact that there are also 2.5% more rooms available as a result of ongoing hotel construction, so the occupancy decline, it could be argued, is a wash. But the lodging industry is making more money with Average Daily Rates (ADR) up 3.8%, RevPAR (revenue per available room) up 1.2% and total room revenue up 3.7%. Not bad for a “terrible economy!”
At The B&B Team we continue to hear from our bed & breakfast inn clients that many are doing well, some are even enjoying a record year! What are they doing to buck the conventional wisdom? Great marketing. Improved websites and SEO. Attention to room and property condition. Creative pricing that can result in higher rates while still offering incentives. And an enduring commitment to their guests. That’s how you do it in good times and bad.