Its a great time to be in the hotel industry – even

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Airbnb, Best Western Hotels & Resorts It’s a great time to be in the hotel industry – even with Airbnb TORONTO — How much have booking patterns changed over the years? When Best Western’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Dorothy Dowling, started her career, the average booking lead time was nine months. Now? It’s 45 days. Everything is faster, more streamlined and more focused on a never-ending parade of new technologies, and travellers – and travel agents – are busier than ever. Notes Dowling: “In my 35-year career, the past two years have moved faster than any others.”Heading up yesterday’s 13th annual Leisure Travel Summit, Dowling said Best Western had a stellar year in Canada in 2017 and the momentum is carrying into 2018, with forward bookings up close to 8% year over year. The hotel company’s loyalty program, Best Western Rewards, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and clients who have been with the program from the beginning were rewarded with top tier status as part of the celebration. Back in the early days just 9% of the company’s revenue was generated through Best Western Rewards. These days it’s 47%. Best Western has been on the forefront with new technology, from VR to AR. The latest tech innovation for the company is the new Best Western Rewards chatbot, set to launch this month. TripAdvisor’s Brian Payea, also on the panel, said it’s all about personalization, “to make sure you’re going to get the information relevant to your trip.” Best Western has 26 hotels in the pipeline in Canada, including first property here from its Glo brand, opening in Kanata just outside of Ottawa. The Glo brand is geared to suburban destinations and feature larger spaces and themed décor elements.Echoing Best Western’s success in 2017, hotels across Canada had a record year last year, buoyed no doubt by all the Canada 150 arrivals.Part of the panel at yesterday’s event, Susie Grynol, President, Hotel Association of Canada, said the country’s hotel’s posted a 66% occupancy rate in 2017 and that looks like it’s holding into 2018. There’s an uptick in groups business and there’s almost certainly a boost from travellers opting to vacation or hold their events in Canada instead of the U.S., although Grynol is too diplomatic to come out and say so. “Overall it’s a great time to be in the hotel industry,” she said.One cloud hanging over the hotel industry’s sunny results, is, as always, digital platforms like Airbnb, however the hotel industry is making headway on that front too. Last month HAC made April 30 – Canada’s tax deadline – a day of protest in Ottawa, saying the Canadian government hasn’t taken steps to collect the taxes they should from digital platforms like Airbnb, and demanding that the inaction has to stop.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsOver the last two years, the commercial side of Airbnb’s business – those renting multi-unit entire homes – grew by 108%, says Grynol. These entire home rentals generated 83% of Airbnb’s revenues.HAC continues to call on the federal government to ensure Airbnb pays its fair share of taxes, and to take real action to address tax avoidance in the digital space.“Digital business have an unfair advantage over bricks-and-mortar,” says Grynol. “Our focus is on establishing a level playing field for the commercial side of Airbnb. We’re not talking about the residential side, like the people who rent out a room in their home. We’re talking about the commercial side, where people are buying up properties and essentially running them as a hotel through platforms like Airbnb.”The latest HAC survey focusing on driving factors for travellers when it comes to choosing accommodation shows that leisure is currently more of a growth driver than corporate travel, and that bleisure travel – where people tack a few extra days of vacation onto a business trip – is over-indexed this year, suggesting this trend is still on the rise. Kathryn Folliott Posted by Thursday, May 17, 2018 About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019last_img

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