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Analyses - August 12, 2004

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Chronology

August 2004

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Print Trends,

Global Megatrends Revolutionizing the Tourism Industry at the Dawn of the Third Millennium

Tourism Trends

  • The cruise industry will experience explosive growth.
  • An older, better-educated population in Europe and North America will increasingly seek ecotourism and cultural travel products.
  • “Slow cities” and “slow food” trends will expand from Italy to much of Europe > London, New York, Sydney and Dubai will be the leading tourism poles through the end of the decade.
  • Non-residents will pay significantly higher entry fees to tourist attractions than those paid by locals (Venice, Petra, Bath, etc.).
  • Tourism Satellite Accounting will be adopted by several developing countries but ignored by the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and most Western European countries.
  • Prayer rooms and compasses will be installed on most passenger aircraft serving the Islamic world.
  • Antarctica will become an ecotourism tourism destination complete with hotels, restaurants and full-service tours.
  • Shopping, from mega-malls to folk craft centers, will increasingly become a critical feature for tourism destinations.
  • Rides on private spacecraft will become a recreational outing for the wealthy.
  • Mega-resorts (Las Vegas, Orlando, Sun City, etc.) will do what no one thought possible: get bigger.
  • Cruise ships will sell condominiums, becoming ocean-going resorts.
  • In spite of organized international efforts to fight them, sex and drug-focused tourism will flourish.
  • Airlines, travel agents and tour operators will ally themselves with financial institutions to offer consumer travel loans.
  • Western tourists will shun countries with immense tourism potential but “rogue” leaders (Zimbabwe, Libya, Iran, North Korea, etc.).
  • MGM Mirage will beat out rivals Hilton, Harrah’s and Bally’s to become the undisputed leader of the casino industry.
  • National economies in Cuba, Egypt, Spain and Thailand will become dangerously dependent on tourism.
  • “Rave” tourists will travel further abroad in search of the perfect party (BringItOn! Travel, Like Hiptrips, Experienceibiza, etc.).
  • Enormous infrastructure projects will significantly expand automobile-accessible tourism options (Channel Tunnel car lane, Bahrain-Qatar causeway, etc.).
  • China will be the first country to receive 100 million international arrivals in a 12-month period, sometime around 2018 – France will follow within 2-3 years.

Product & Service Trends

  • Hotel rooms, increasingly equipped as offices with full-size desks, computers and advanced communications technologies, will minimize the need for business centers.
  • Expansion of Europe’s high-speed train network will eliminate short haul flights.
  • Hotel meeting and dining areas will be designed less formally in an attempt to attract the casual business traveler.
  • Small super-luxury boutique inns will take market share from Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton and Fairmont.
  • Hub airports will install capsule-cocoon hotels in terminal facilities.
  • Hotel and restaurant facilities will be designed for an aging population with lower rise steps, more handrails and wider doors.
  • Travel guidebooks will become highly specialized and more frequently consulted – primarily on the web.
  • The distinction between business and leisure hotels will erode as business clients seek fitness and entertainment activities and vacation guests demand advanced telecommunications IT.
  • “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” will replace “Let the Buyer Beware”.
  • Growth in demand for home food delivery will outpace all other food service segments.
  • An aging population and growing infatuation with healthful living will bring a wave of European holistic spas and ‘health-tels’ to North America and Asia.
  • A new wave of budget conference & exhibition hotels will be built to meet the convention needs of cost conscious companies.
  • European and Japanese new-build hotels will be obliged to design larger guest rooms closer to North American standards.
  • Restaurant groups will operate F&B outlets wherever people gather (Laundromat bars, espresso counters at service stations, etc.).
  • Center-city urban resorts will challenge sun, sand & sea vacation villages in the leisure market.
  • Credit card check-in/check-out, F&B vending machines, self-cleaning bathrooms and self-serve laundries will eliminate most human contact in budget hotels.
  • Luxury resorts that once shunned children will welcome them with an expanded array of activities and tailored dining options.

Investment & Finance

  • Hotel real estate assets will be increasingly concentrated in the portfolios of fewer investors, particularly private equity funds.
  • Intense competition for hotel operating contracts will push management fees as low as 1% of gross, 5% of IBFC and $4 per reservation.
  • Airlines will continue to rack up significant losses as they struggle to deal with high fuel costs, new security requirements, an onslaught of no-frills carriers and brutal competition from ‘open skies’ agreements.
  • Following the big American sell off of the 1980s and 1990s, hotel companies will be repatriated to the U.S. (Westin, Ramada, Renaissance, etc.).
  • Airline alliances of the 20th century will evolve into acquisitions as weaker players struggle to survive (Air France-KLM, American-TWA, etc.).
  • By the end of the decade, a score of management companies will control the world inventory of branded hotel rooms.
  • Hotel feasibility studies will become an unprofitable commodity for hospitality consulting firms.
  • Hotel operating companies will sell their remaining equity in real estate to free up capital for expansion of management contracts.
  • Per room hotel acquisitions in Europe will reach stratospheric new records (i.e. Savoy Group).
  • Franchising will experience explosive growth as hotel companies strategically reposition to get out of the hotel business and into the business of hotels (i.e. Radisson, Choice, Cendant, Holiday Inn, etc.).
  • Fewer new-build hotels in Europe and North America, more existing property renovations.

Human Resources

  • Critical shortages of skilled staff will encourage hospitality corporations to develop or outsource proprietary training centers.
  • The introduction of new technologies in the upscale tourism industry will not replace the human element in service delivery – to the contrary, it will gain importance.
  • Unionized hotel and restaurant workforces will trade scheduling and task flexibility for job security and quality-of-life benefits.
  • Tourism and hotel management schools will move out of the classroom and out of the library, onto the web and into the field.
  • Powerful unions, a shorter workweek and reluctance to taper social benefits will maintain Europe’s standing as the world’s most expensive tourism destination.
  • Middle Eastern countries enforcing employment quotas for nationals will experience reduced productivity and higher labor costs.Airline employees will accept significant wage and benefit cuts to prevent their employers from going bankrupt.

Marketing

  • The Internet will become the dominant distribution channel for all travel and tourism products eliminating most intermediaries.
  • Understanding customers as people – their likes, dislikes, habits, interests and hobbies – will become critical to establishing competitive advantage in hospitality marketing.
  • Customer retention will replace customer acquisition as travel agencies’ strategic objective.
  • Homogenization of airline services will render them commodities while lodging products will continue to focus on differentiation.
  • Data warehousing and data mining will provide one-to-one and relationship-marketing opportunities never imagined.Print media advertising will move onto the Web.
  • Increasingly value-conscious customers will demand more and better product information.
  • Consumers will increasingly expect to negotiate hotel and airline rates.
  • Cross-sector strategic alliances between food service, lodging, travel and entertainment companies will prove to be effective marketing formats.
  • Better understanding of psychographic consumer behavior will lead to more precise identification of customer segments and sub-segments.
  • As marketers increasingly distinguish between loyalty and satisfaction, frequent use programs will become more elaborate.
  • Hotel revenue management systems will become more sophisticated and be relocated from the reservations department to sales & marketing.
  • Revenue management tactics will be applied to pricing in restaurants, amusement parks, golf courses, tour buses, cinemas, convention centers and sports stadiums.
  • Hotel companies’ PMS standardization will result in the transfer of database and data warehousing responsibilities to CRS for greater operational and marketing efficiency.Market share and product profitability will be replaced by customer share and customer profitability as measures of marketing effectiveness in the hotel industry.

Safety & Security

  • Consumers will systematically consult travel health sites before checking ticket or room availability.
  • Security concerns in the Holy Land encourage religious tourists to make pilgrimages to sites in Ethiopia, Cuba, Greece, Italy and Morocco.
  • Crime and terrorism will render some traditional tourist destinations unsellable.
  • Customer credit cards will replace coded key cards in most hotels.
  • Guest room safes will be enlarged to accommodate standard laptop computers.
  • International hotel companies will refuse management contracts and franchises for hotels without in-room sprinkler systems.
  • Terrorism fears will keep Israel, Indonesia, Iraq and India off the mainstream tourist circuit for the foreseeable future.
  • Advanced encryption technology will make on-line payment genuinely secure.

Financial Management & Cost Control

  • Zero-based budgeting will become the industry norm.
  • GOPAR will replace RevPAR as the standard measure of hotel sales profitability.
  • Speech recognition technology will lower staffing levels and operating costs in CRS call centers.
  • To improve energy and water conservation, hotels will install usage meters and levy charges for consumption.
  • Deregulation of the global telecommunications market will benefit the hospitality industry more than the deregulation of the airline markets.
  • As hotel reservations made through global distribution systems diminish, GDS will exploit communications advances to reduce fees and costs.
  • While hotel and café guests will increasingly expect wireless Internet access, other factors will encourage hospitality operators to invest in it – serving as a platform for mobile point-of-sales, reducing cable costs and more efficient restaurant table auditing.

Tourism Control Intelligence
E-mail: Nowlis@aol.com

 

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