Last year started on a positive note, with great expectations the economy was on a fast track to recovery; but the year ended on a low note as the hotel industry was put under the microscope for its lack of cleanliness. In between, there were mergers, acquisitions, new brand launches, a slate of new luxury hotel openings, union strife, and a range of new technologies coming to market, which will continue to change the way operators run their businesses and consumers book their travel.
Through the ebb and flow of such developments, the hotel world never stands still, not even for a minute. Now as we turn the page on a new year, eager to leave the doldrums of the past four years firmly behind us, the industry hopes true recovery is closely within our grasp, and we are poised to return to halcyon days, albeit it, perhaps slower than we would like.
According to statistics from PKF Consulting, 2013 is expected to be solid, although not exceptional, with the national occupancy rate projected to grow marginally to 63 per cent, from 62 per cent the year earlier, while ADR is forecast to hit $132, up from last year’s $129. But, with Canada’s economic indicators continuing to fare better than most other countries, and our national banking system shining on the world stage, we expect — barring any disaster — Canada will fare well. Furthermore, with the U.S. election now a fait d’accompli, our American neighbours may just get back to the business at hand, which should bode well for Canadian hoteliers hungry for their business.
But, as the industry moves forward, hoteliers need to realize the same old, same old doesn’t cut it anymore, especially in 2013. Whether we’re talking about decor and design, equipment and technology, guest retention or sales and marketing, savvy hoteliers need to continue to find unique ways to create bold product offerings while always providing distinctive experiences.
As industry stakeholders know only too well, marketing is the lifeblood of tourism but to market those experiences effectively, the Canadian Tourism Commission needs money. As David Goldstein, president of the Ottawa-based Tourism Industry Association of Canada, said in one of our stories on tourism last year, “Funding the CTC is more important than ever. Tourism continues to grow globally, but Canada’s share continues to erode.” If we want to stem that tide, it’s time for Canada to get with the program, doing all that is necessary to better promote itself as a destination of choice, not only to our traditional source of tourists, but also to emerging markets. Now, more than ever, it’s time to go big or go home.
Hotelier magazine Jan/Fen 2013 features: