TORONTO — Best Western Hotels & Resorts hosted members of the media at the Arcadian Loft in Toronto yesterday for its 2016 Leisure Travel Summit.

The event was the brand’s best attended Leisure Travel Summit to date and featured a record-setting panel 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.

You Must be Trippin’ blogger Bryson Forbes moderated the panel as it discussed the outlook for future travel and how the current economy is impacting travel behavior.

The members of the panel predicted a positive outlook for 2016, noting that current economic conditions have been instrumental in increasing inbound traffic to Canada. Goldstein and Bell noted that Canada’s tourism business is becoming less seasonal, with growth in winter business. Leisure travel was also identified as an area that has been gaining significant traction.

Panellists also discussed the ever popular topic of the millennial generation, however this groups of industry experts had a somewhat atypical view on the cohort.

Goldstein pointed out that Destination Canada puts 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 also 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 millennials as a “catalyst for growth” which has great potential to fuel long-term growth in the industry.

Rather than generational cohorts, Dowling identified female consumers as a group the industry should be paying more attention to, noting that female heads-of-household make 89 per cent of travel decisions.


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