TORONTO — Supporters of Humber College’s hospitality program gathered at the school’s North Campus in Etobicoke, Ont., last night to hear travel trends and predictions for the future of online travel.

Organized by students of Humber College’s Hospitality and Tourism Operations Management course, and Humber’s Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) student chapter, the evening included a silent auction and three-course dinner prepared by culinary students.

After dinner, Chris Day, senior director of Marketing, Canada and Latin America for Expedia, discussed Expedia’s growth, from offering its services on CD-ROMs before the introduction of in 2000. Today, the company owns 11 travel brands and 70 travel sites, including and

According to Day, the travel industry’s online presence is increasingly important, and mobile is one of the most important avenues for selling travel. “We’ve gone from $3.6 billion in 2011, to $8 billion in travel transactions in 2013,” said Day, who also emphasized the importance of social media, stressing that 35 per cent of travellers interact with companies on social networks, which is one of the first places a customer will make a complaint. “We have a team of eight people that looks after social media complaints,” said Day. “That didn’t exist two years ago.”

The event wrapped with Day’s predictions for the years ahead, including an increase in the number of adults who use social media and a higher mobile penetration. He also expressed a desire for the return of higher-end travel. “Since the global recession, people are going to 3.5 stars instead of four stars. We would love to see the return of five-star travel.”

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