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Toronto – October 10, 2019 – As we enter not just a new year but a new decade, our travel needs, behaviours and wants continue to evolve. The world today, like the explorers themselves, does not sit still. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com predicts 2020 will be a year of travel exploration like never before, fueled by technology as well as a growing sense of responsibility and deeper connection with the people and places we visit. Drawing on its expertise as a leader in travel and technology coupled with research among more than 22,000 travellers across 29 markets and insights from over 180 million verified guest reviews, here are the travel trends we can expect to see come to life in the year ahead – and beyond.

  1. The rise of the ‘second city’ traveller

Second-city travel, meaning the exploration of lesser known destinations in a bid to reduce over-tourism and protect the environment, will take a leap forward in the year ahead. Over half (51%) of Canadian travellers want to play a part in reducing over-tourism, while 45% would swap their original destination for a lesser-known but similar alternative if they knew it would leave less of an environmental impact. To pique their interest, 56% of Canadian travellers would be keen to have access to a service (app/website) that recommends destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community. Expect to see companies respond to this demand by introducing functions that make it easier for travellers to identify second-city/neighbourhood destinations through understanding traveller’s trip preferences and matching these with alternative or lesser known destinations in their chosen country or region. Likewise, increasing collaboration across the travel eco-system will see more awareness campaigns and infrastructure improvement drives to entice visitors to take the road less traveled.

  1. Tech-spect the unexpected

2020 will see travellers put key aspects of their decision-making process even more firmly in the hands of technology. It can be overwhelming to decide which corners of our incredible planet to visit or what excursions to choose, but the coming year will see inventive tech inspiring and enabling us to overcome this hurdle with ease. Smart, trusted tech-led recommendations will connect us to a myriad of new experiences that might not otherwise have crossed our path, while also saving time (as well as screen-time) and enabling us to max out every minute of ‘now’ while on vacation.

This will be music to the ears of over half (54%) people who say they want tech to offer them ‘wildcard’ and surprise options that would introduce them to something entirely new in the coming year. Additionally over a third (37%) of Canadian travellers state they will use an app that makes it fast and easy to explore and book activities in real time while travelling, and a similar number (39%) plan to use an app that allows them to pre-plan activities, so they always have the answers in one place. Meeting that demand, 2020 will see even more applications of Artificial Intelligence, offering tailored suggestions of destinations to visit, places to stay and things to do based on your current preferences, previous trips and key contextual factors, such as weather and popularity.

  1. Slo-Mo is the new #FOMO

Instead of experiencing the constant fear of missing out (FOMO) and trying to speed through as much as possible, travel in 2020 will be all about taking it slow. In 2020, almost half (47%) of travellers plan to take slower modes of transport to reduce their environmental impact and almost two-thirds (65%) would prefer to take a longer route to experience more of the journey itself. Types of transport that play into our desire to take the pace down a notch will also come into their own – from peddle bikes to trams, sleds and boats, as well as our own two feet. In fact, over half (56%) of travellers already don't mind spending more time travelling to reach their destination if they’re taking a unique mode of transport. Likewise, 69% would be interested in feeling as if they are going back in time by taking a historical train journey (e.g. Flying Scotsman, Orient Express). Look forward to a year of slow and special travel.

  1. Discovering the all-amusive escape

 

A fast-paced world means that most of us are often time poor – a notion that doesn’t start or stop with vacations. Travellers will want to be as time-efficient as possible on vacation, so instead of settling into one theme for the entire vacation, 2020 will see a rise in travellers exploring the ‘all-amusive’, by visiting destinations that offer an array of enriching experiences and attractions. Over half (57%) of Canadian travellers say they want to go on one long trip to a place that has all of their favourite activities and sights close together, and 68% agree that they would choose a destination that offers all of their favourite activities and sights near each other to save travel time.  Recognizing this, expect to see the industry continue to make it even easier for travellers by curating itineraries full of variety, deals and routes to allow them to get the most out of these all-amusive destinations.

When imagining a destination that has it all – from outstanding natural scenery that can be admired from the balcony of your villa, to historical sights, stunning parks and beaches to cool off and relax on after a day of exploring, followed by dinner at a fantastic local restaurant – Booking.com travellers identified Montevideo (Uruguay), Ilhabela (Brazil) and Naha (Japan) as top destinations, amongst others, that offer these all-amusive experiences.

  1. Pets in the priority lane

With over half (59%) of Canadian pet owners saying their pet is as important to them as their child/ren, it’s no surprise that 2020 looks set to herald a new era in pet-centric vacations. We’ll see travellers putting the needs of their beloved pets well before their own when it comes to selecting where to go, where to stay and what to do.

34% of Canadian pet owners agree that in the coming year they would choose holiday destinations based on whether they can take their pets, and 40% would be willing to pay more to stay at an accommodation that's pet-friendly. Reflecting this trend, the number of pet-friendly properties continues to rise on Booking.com, while savvy to this appetite, accommodations around the world will continue to look for innovative ways to up the ante when it comes to pet-tailored offerings and amenities, such as complementary dog day beds, pet spas, dedicated room service menus and even specially designed pet restaurants. Animals on vacation can definitely expect a five-star experience.

  1. Making great memories with ‘grand’ getaways

2020 will be the year of the ‘grand’ as more grandparents will take epic vacations with just their grandkids, leaving the middle generation behind. Almost three-quarters (72%) of grandparents agree that spending time with their grandkids keeps them feeling young and 81% believe that parents need alone time without their children. Pair that with the fact that today’s older generation is healthier, more adventurous and more keen to stay young and active than ever before, we’ll see ‘grand’ vacations that offer an array of active experiences for both generations to take part in becoming even more popular in the year ahead.

7. Race to the reservation

The coming year will see travellers put culinary ambitions at the forefront of their travel decision-making, with the race to snag that all important restaurant reservation truly on. For many, where and when they travel will start with – and depend on – whether they can reserve a table to enjoy highly coveted cuisine, in many cases at places whose waiting lists stretch months long. And with appetites whetted by an abundance of social media content and recommendations, it won’t just be the big-name restaurants at which travellers are desperate to nab a seat. Hidden gems – those places which have long been favourites amongst the locals and offer sought-after homegrown flavours, sometimes well off the beaten track – are the ones most likely to tickle the tastebuds of travellers looking for local gastronomic experiences, especially over two-thirds (69%) of Canadian travellers who say that eating locally sourced produce is important to them when on vacation. So get your calendars ready because next year’s travellers will pivot their holiday plans around these destination dining opportunities, looking to indulge before everyone else gets there first, or before the next must-book table appears on the scene.

8. Fast track to long-term travel

As retirement looks set to become less about reaching a certain age and leaving the workforce, and with increasing numbers actively planning to retire earlier, we’ll see this moment become surprisingly synonymous with ‘adventure travel planning’. Over one in ten (11%) of 18 to 25-year olds are planning to retire before they turn 55, and what they plan to do is also changing. 2020 will see travellers shift their mindset and start to plan big for their future golden years, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of Canadian travellers seeing travel as the perfect way to spend that free time.

Nearly half (47%) of Canadian travellers plan to be more adventurous in their travel choices once they’ve retired, and over a fifth (22%) of those who are already retired are planning a gap year – making time to travel for several months without interruption, something that over half (55%) of all travellers agree that you can do at any age. With retirement and travelling going hand-in-hand for so many different age groups, expect to see products that help travellers kick-start the planning process through ‘retirement travel’ saving pots, allowing travellers to put money aside that will go towards the longest vacation of their lives.

Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments: “As we enter a new decade, we’ll see the travel industry respond to a more sustainable, inquisitive and technologically-advanced traveller through the development of products, services and functions that make it easier for everyone to experience the world. From identifying second cities to help combat over-tourism, to providing ever-more tailored travel recommendations and ensuring the most diverse selection of places to stay for customers across the globe, we want to ensure travellers are prepared, supported and excited by the prospect of travel into 2020 and far beyond.”

To delve deeper into Booking.com’s travel trends for 2020, visit http://TravelPredictions2020.com

 
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MCLEAN, Va.--()--To mark Global Handwashing Day, Hilton (NYSE:HLT) announced the expansion of its soap recycling program, totaling 5,300 properties in more than 70 countries and territories around the globe. Hilton’s decade-long soap recycling program, which is already the largest in the hospitality industry, helps fight the hygiene epidemic plaguing underserved communities where tens of thousands of children die needlessly due to lack of access to basic sanitation. The initiative also contributes to reducing Hilton’s overall environmental impact, which the company has set a goal to cut in half by 2030.

Hilton also announced the successful completion of its 2019 Clean the World Challenge to collect enough soap by Global Handwashing Day to be sterilized and recycled into 2 million new bars of soap for communities in need. During the last 10 years, Hilton properties have diverted 4 million pounds of waste from landfills. Working with NGO partners such as Clean the World, the industry-leader is now setting the bar even higher.

“In a world where too many children die of hygiene-related illnesses, Hilton and its soap recycling partners are turning guest room waste into life-saving treasure,” said Katie Fallon, Hilton’s Global Head of Corporate Affairs. “We are now expanding our industry-leading, global soap recycling program to all of our brands as part of our commitment to send zero soap to landfill.”

Hilton has a network of soap recycling partners around the world that support these efforts, the largest of which is Clean the World. Through these partnerships, Hilton hotels have contributed to the donation of more than 11 million new bars of recycled soap to communities in need. In 2016, Embassy Suites by HiltonHomewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton’s 750 hotels were the first in the industry to make soap recycling a brand requirement. In January of 2019, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton joined the initiative.

Hilton is expanding its commitment by making this a brand standard effective January 1, 2020 for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & ResortsLXR Hotels & ResortsConrad Hotels & ResortsCanopy by HiltonSignia HiltonHilton Hotels & ResortsCurio Collection by HiltonDoubleTree by HiltonTapestry Collection by HiltonMotto by Hilton and Hilton Grand VacationsTru by Hilton uses bulk amenities.

“A spirit of service has always been at the heart of Hilton Grand Vacations through our CSR platform – HGV Serves,” said Hilton Grand Vacations Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Stan Soroka. “We are thrilled to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow Hilton brands to amplify what has already been done and catapult this program further.”

Driving Global Adoption of Soap Recycling:
The new brand standards, which will be applicable across the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, United Kingdom and Continental Europe, will significantly expand Hilton’s impact, as well as its partnership with Clean the World. Hilton’s soap recycling efforts in Europe will be supported by a new Clean the World facility which opened in Amsterdam last year. In addition, Hilton will continue its existing strong soap recycling partnerships in its Asia Pacific region, working with partners including Diversey’s Soap for Hope™, Soap Aid, Soap Cycling, and Sundara India.

The World’s Most Valuable Collection at the Soap Museum:
To bring awareness to the vital role soap plays in reducing the risk of hygiene-related illnesses, Hilton is opening the doors to an art exhibit in New York City. Open to the public on Global Handwashing Day (October 15), “The World’s Most Valuable Collection at the Soap Museum” showcases 10, 18-inch sculptures carved from soap by world champion carving artist Daniele Barresi. The sculptures all depict items that are typically regarded as having significant value to illustrate and make the connection to the true value of soap as a life-saving resource that is often taken for granted.

During the interactive experience, which will be open through October 16, attendees will also learn about the importance of handwashing and soap recycling, and how everyone can help fight the epidemic of preventable hygiene-related illnesses. The experience will continue internationally when it makes its way to London as well as the Asia Pacific region. All the materials used for the museum will be recycled upon closing.

Starting October 15, the education will continue on the Hilton Online Newsroom and social media channels where visitors and followers can track the “Journey of a Bar of Soap,” and watch episodes of the Clean the World Soap Opera video series, which highlights the impact soap recycling has had domestically, internationally, on Hilton team members, and much more.

Hilton’s Sustainability Journey
Hilton’s soap recycling efforts are a part of the company’s wider commitment to redefine sustainable travel through its Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy. By 2030, the hospitality company commits to cutting its environmental footprint in half and doubling its social impact investment to drive positive change in communities. Hilton was the first major hotel brand to set science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, and the first hotel company to commit to send zero soap to landfill.

Most recently, Hilton was named the global industry leader in sustainability on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), the most prestigious index for corporate responsibility and sustainability performance. Hilton is also currently the only hospitality company on Fortune’s Change the World List, a recognition it has received for a second year in a row.

In early 2019, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton launched the Clean the World Challenge. The challenge asked hotel owners and team members to collect bars of soap left behind by guests to be recycled into 2 million bars of new soap by Global Handwashing Day to, ultimately, be distributed to communities in need. To-date, the brands have surpassed that goal, generating more than 2,358,200 new bars of soap.

In its collaboration with Clean the World and other soap recycling partners, Hilton’s discarded soap is crushed, sanitized and cut into new soap bars. The new soap bar is used in hygiene kits, which Clean the World provides to those in need. These kits ultimately aid in preventing diseases and reducing mortality rates around the world.

To learn more about Hilton’s Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy and 2030 goals, please visit cr.hilton.com. Accompanying b-roll package and photos can be found here.

 
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WASHINGTON (October 4, 2019) The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new research that reveals online booking scams and dishonest marketing practices by fraudulent and misleading travel websites continue to deceive and confuse consumers. In fact, 23 percent of consumers report being misled by third-party traveler resellers on the phone or online, which amounted to $5.7 billion in fraudulent and misleading hotel booking transactions in 2018 alone.

“The numbers we saw in this research are completely unacceptable. Consumers are being robbed of billions of dollars every year by bad actors,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “In addition to third-party websites that mimic hotel websites and call centers, but are not actually affiliated with a hotel, costing consumers time and money, this new research shows just how big of a problem deceptive advertising is on some online travel agency websites.”

According to the research:

  • When booking a hotel reservation through a third party, 1 out of 4 consumers experienced a problem with their reservation
  • Over 40% of consumers were upset to learn that when they comparison shop among these “digital middle men” – Trivago, Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Booking.com, and others – they’re usually just comparing the same two companies: Expedia and Priceline, which together control 95 percent of the online travel market.
  • Consumers almost universally (94%) believe they should know who they are doing business with online when booking a hotel room.
  • An overwhelming majority (77%) of consumers agree the government should make it a higher priority to enforce consumer protection laws against third party hotel resellers.

AHLA encourages consumers to Search Smarter, a campaign aimed at helping travelers avoid lost reservations, additional fees, and potentially ruined vacations. The transparency campaign encourages consumers to book smart by booking directly with hotels or trusted travel agents.

“Given the continued fraudulent issues we’re seeing, AHLA reminds consumers to Search Smarter, a campaign to educate consumers about these problems and encourage consumers to slow down when booking a hotel and not be pressured by misleading advertising or deceived by fraudulent websites. Our focus in the hospitality industry is to make sure guests have a smooth, stress-free experience, from booking the room to checking out after their stay. We recommend consumers look before they book, take advantage of loyalty programs and book directly with the hotel or a trusted travel agent” continued Rogers.

With so many ways to book a reservation, it’s more important than ever to make sure consumers understand how to search smarter and make the best decisions throughout the hotel booking process. AHLA will continue to provide travel booking tips as well as advocate for Congressional passage of the Stop Online Booking Scams Act. Together, both efforts will heighten consumer protection and ensure guest satisfaction.

To learn more about the campaign and how you can Book Smart, Book Direct, visit SearchSmarter.org.

 
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October 4, 2019

Any concern over a weakening U.S. economy has not yet infiltrated U.S. hotel industry profits.

GOPPAR increased 1.4% year-over year in August, matching RevPAR growth, which also clocked in with a positive 1.4% gain, according to monthly data from HotStats.

August continued a streak of GOPPAR growth in 2019, with the only negative blip coming in April, when GOPPAR was down 4.5% YOY.

Despite a YOY increase, the $76.95 GOPPAR was 24% below the year-to-date average of $101.21.

While RevPAR was up for the month, occupancy was down 0.2 percentage points, but bolstered by a 1.7% gain in average room rate.

Total revenue per available room was up 2.2% for the month. Profit conversion came in at 32.8% of total revenue in August, negatively affected by a 3.4% YOY increase in payroll on a per-available-room basis.

Profit & Loss Key Performance Indicators – U.S. (in USD)

KPI August 2019 v. August 2018
RevPAR +1.4% to $154.89
TRevPAR +2.2% to $234.41
Payroll +3.4% to $90.29
GOPPAR +1.4% to $76.95

“U.S. hoteliers continue to drive profits despite contending with monthly rises in expenses,” said David Eisen, Director of Hotel Intelligence, Americas, HotStats. “With costs including labor and A&G rising in August at a rate higher than RevPAR, it’s become even more critical that costs are flexed in order to maintain profit levels.”

In New York, occupancy, room rate, RevPAR and TRevPAR were all up YOY, but it still translated into a 6.0% drop in GOPPAR, as labor costs jumped a precipitous 10.5% YOY in the month.

While demand for New York hotels consistently translates into some of the highest occupancy rates and room rates in the U.S., the city is invariably besieged by rises in hotel supply. According to Lodging Econometrics, 65 new hotels/9,396 rooms will open in the city in 2019.

With more than 65 million visitors annually, the leisure segment makes a significant contribution to accommodation demand for hotels in New York and comprised more than 43% of total demand in August.

Profit & Loss Key Performance Indicators – New York City (in USD)

KPI August 2019 v. August 2018
RevPAR +3.5% to $263.37
TRevPAR +4.6% to $342.44
Payroll +10.5% to $188.01
GOPPAR -6.0% to $70.53

In contrast to the challenges in the Big Apple, it was a positive month of profit performance for hotels in Houston, which came despite recording a 1.2% YOY decline in RevPAR to $80.99.

Some of the RevPAR losses were recouped by hoteliers recording an increase in ancillary revenues, which were led by a 2.9% increase in food & beverage, and tempered the 0.8% decline in TRevPAR to $116.17. August is historically the lowest TRevPAR month in Houston.

However, cost savings in payroll (down 0.3%) and overheads (down 7.9%) helped hotels in the city record a 16.4% YOY increase in profit per room. 

Profit & Loss Key Performance Indicators – Houston (in USD)

KPI August 2019 v. August 2018
RevPAR -1.2% to $80.99
TRevPAR -0.8% to $116.17
Payroll -0.3% to $46.92
GOPPAR +16.4% to $31.46 
 
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3, October 2019 (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) – IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, celebrates the rebranding and recent opening of the Holiday Inn Ottawa Downtown – Parliament Hill  hotel with a grand opening celebration. The grand opening was celebrated by the owners at Westlight Investments Limited Partnerships, Salim Mukadam of Westmont Hospitality Group, along with notable members of the community, including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. The hotel is expected to become a top choice for travellers visiting the nation’s capital.

Jonathan Lund, Regional Vice President Hotel Operations, Canada said: “With over 50 Holiday Inn properties across Canada, we’re excited to add the Holiday Inn Ottawa Dwtn – Parliament Hill hotel to our growing roster of great hotels. With this rebranding and reopening, we’re helping to service the increasing market need for upper-midscale hotels that cater to both leisure and business travelers.”

There are currently eight IHG brand hotels in the Ottawa region, and the area at large is showing a strong appetite for these types of properties.

The Holiday Inn® Ottawa Dwtn – Parliament Hill hotel, is located at 402 Queen St., is owned by Westlight Investments Limited Partnerships and managed by Westmont Hospitality Group under a license agreement with IHG. The hotel has recently completed a full renovation to the Holiday Inn brand’s new H4 design concept.

Walking distance to Canada’s historic Parliament Hill and offering such business conveniences as onsite meeting rooms and a business centre, Holiday Inn® Ottawa Dwtn – Parliament Hill provides a flawless guest experience.  Amenities include Keurig® brewer in every room, fitness centre, onsite restaurant, Gibson’s on Queen and pets are welcome. The property also features IHG® Connect, providing a seamless Internet experience for guests, with a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. With IHG® Connect, IHG Rewards Club members will be able to walk into any IHG Connect-enabled hotel and access Wi-Fi by entering their Rewards Club credentials and then be automatically recognized in future visits.

Peter K. Wilson, General Manager, Holiday Inn Ottawa Dwtn – Parliament Hill said: “We look forward to offering our guests an enhanced stay experience while we continue to offer exceptional levels of customer service. Our Guest rooms have been renovated and feature a bold, modern look and amenities for today’s traveler.”

The hotel has two meetings rooms totaling 1,000 square feet that can accommodate 80 guests standing. Onsite catering is available for meeting rooms via the hotel’s restaurant, Gibson’s on Queen.

 

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