Hoteliers are working in a new reality. The theme for 2004 is not about recovery; it is about managing fundamental changes in the travel market. When or even whether economies recover will not erase what the traveling public has learned since September 11, 2001: everything is negotiable; they can book at the last minute; and hoteliers still need their business badly enough to over-compete with value-added services and personalized attention. Put simply, the challenges of the last three years are not going away.
We see a permanent, structural change in the way people travel, and that has led to a permanent structural change in lodging demand, says Bjorn Hanson, national hospitality industry chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), New York City. PwC’s research suggests demand is being reset at a lower level-75,000 rooms per night lower in the United States. As air travel demand continues to lag, a heavy regional marketing push will be a good business strategy for the foreseeable future.
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