Best Western Hotels & Resorts hosted members of the media last month at the Arcadian Loft in Toronto for its 2016 Leisure Travel Summit. This year’s Summit featured the event’s largest panel to date, which included David Goldstein, president and CEO of Destination Canada; Brian Payea, head of Industry Relations at TripAdvisor; Charlotte Bell, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada; Tony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada; and Dorothy Dowling, SVP and CMO of Best Western.

Members of the panel predicted a positive outlook for 2016, noting current economic conditions have been instrumental in increasing inbound traffic to Canada. Goldstein and Bell also said Canada’s tourism business is becoming less seasonal, with growth in winter business.

Payea shared numbers showing that in the last 12 months, Canadians have been looking at 36-per-cent more Canadian properties on TripAdvisor than they did the year before, highlighting a trend towards more travel within Canada. However, Pollard did draw attention to HAC’s Canadian Travel Intentions Survey, which indicated leisure travel will decline by roughly five percentage points in 2016.

The panel also examined the impact of the millennial generation and concluded with a somewhat atypical view on the cohort. Goldstein pointed out that at Destination Canada, a much greater focus is put on psychographics rather than demographics, “because there is a great age range that fits a certain type of explorer…those people who aren’t just looking for the standard vacation but looking a little bit further.”

Payea revealed that the various generations “behave remarkably similarly” in the way they interact with TripAdvisor.

Panelists agreed that as the largest cohort, millennials certainly cannot be ignored. Bell described them as a “catalyst for growth” which have great potential to fuel long-term development in the industry.
Volume 28, Number 4

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