Disrupting the Old Order: Five Trends Affecting Travel, the World's Largest Business

By Mike Kistner President, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board, Pegasus Solutions | April 01, 2012

The 2011 holiday season incited strong holiday travel, especially during the last week of the month and most notably over New Year's Eve. Booking performance was solid even though it had a tough time matching the robust global levels achieved last year, and December's reservations surpassed 2010 levels in many markets, remaining greater globally than 2009, 2008 and even 2007. Average daily rates were the star of the show, rising in the corporate and leisure sectors, and reaching new record growth over last year in many leisure markets. Overall, 2011 was a year of major progress for reservations and rates.

Travel is expected to slowly but surely continue on its road to recovery through 2012, shifting gears as it encounters inevitable bumps along the way. Throughout 2012, it will be exciting to monitor how new and ongoing industry trends influence travel in the new year and the opportunities they will unleash.

Independent hotels, mobile adoption, distribution, hotel merchandising and partnerships/integration/alliances played key roles during 2011. So which trends will help shape travel in 2012? There are many, but the following five are especially important:

Mobile

Mobile adoption is accelerating in terms of the number of users researching or managing travel. Some industry reports are predicting a climb in the number of US consumers using mobile for travel research from 19.7 million in 2010 to 29.7 million in 2012. The number of guests expected to start booking travel via mobile is projected to double to 15.1 million in 2012.

It's clear that mobile is a critical extension of your hotel's distribution network on the Internet. And six months from now, there will be even more diversity in the number of devices and operating systems you will have to consider in your mobile strategy. There are products not yet in existence that will be thriving a year from now, which means your hotel or hotel group cannot be satisfied because you've done a good job with one device.

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Coming up in November 2018...

Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.