TORONTO — The Toronto Region Board of Trade was home to Best Western’s 7th annual Business Travel Summit, where Best Western executives and media attended a panel on the state of corporate travel in Canada.

Bryson Forbes, president of Forbes Marketing Consultants Inc., mediated the panel discussion, which addressed issues such as content creation, the impact of millennials and the growing complexities of distribution channels. And there was optimism when execs tackled the “R-word” — recession, and its effect on travel.

“We don’t use The “R-word” in the lodging business and haven’t for quite a period of time,” said Dorothy Dowling, SVP, Marketing and Sales, Best Western International. “For the last couple of years the business environment has really been a share-shift, in that demand has gone up one or two per cent in leisure and corporate but what we’re really seeing in the last two years is that rate is also starting to improve. So that’s good news.”

“We are looking at the new “R-word” as “recovery,” added Tanya Racz, president, The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) for Canada, who cited her association’s recent industry pulse showing a five-per-cent domestic increase in domestic air travel and a four-per-cent increase in hotel rates.

Mobile was another buzz word at the summit, where the panel examined the importance of mobile connectivity and searching in the industry. Finally, the panel wrapped with an industry outlook and top trends shaping the marketplace in 2013. “The topic we will be talking about is open booking and how it enables corporations to account for the proliferation of content, the influence of loyalty programs and the expectations of millennial travellers,” said Michael Koetting, EVP, Supplier Management, Concur.


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