With 30 years of civil war now behind it, Sri Lanka is looking to recapture its status as one of Asia’s most popular holiday destinations. The efforts begin with new development; the government wants to add 35,000 rooms during the next four years to meet the projected demand of 2.5 million foreign visitors.
Growth thus far has been promising, with foreign and domestic players launching new projects or major renovations. For its part, the government has offered incentives and has designated four zones throughout the country specifically for resort development.
International travel also has increased. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority estimates there were 850,000 foreign arrivals in 2011, which is 30% above the 2010 numbers. During the first full year of peace in 2010, arrivals increased 50%.
U.S. business travelers have more control of their bookings than ever before, which means hoteliers should think outside of corporate travel policies and consider the end user, according to a PhoCusWright webinar Wednesday. Unmanaged business travelers—those who don’t have a formal corporate travel policy—make up 70% of the U.S. market, reports HotelNewsNow.com’s Patrick Mayock.
Convenience was cited as the top driver of rogue behavior by managed business travelers. Price and loyalty points were also important factors.
And while online travel agencies were the most popular platform to research travel among unmanaged travelers, the majority went to brand.com for the actual booking.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International ranked, in that order, as the most digitally competent hotel brands. However, the gap between all hotel brands is shrinking, thanks to stronger websites, presence across major social media platforms and mobile optimization throughout the industry, according to L2’s “Digital IQ Index: Hotels.”
“In this year’s report, an overwhelming 38% of brands registered an Average ranking, versus just 10% in 2011,” said NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway, who developed the index with a team of experts from digital think tank L2. “The standard deviation across the Index tightened from 38 in 2011 to 21 in 2012, suggesting differentiation in digital has become increasingly difficult. This is a significant departure from a year ago, when more than a third of hotel brands scored in the Feeble ranks. Strong sites, presence across major social media platforms, and optimization for mobile are becoming table stakes as competition intensifies."
Orlando reported the largest increases in occupancy and revenue per available room among the top 25 U.S. hotel markets for the week ending 7 April, according to data from STR, parent company of HotelNewsNow.com. The market, which is a popular destination for families during spring break, rose 19.1% in occupancy to 90.5% and 28.9% in RevPAR to $99.74. Orlando’s average daily rate also reported a large increase, up 8.2% to $110.27.
Overall, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy fell 4.1% to 59.4%, its ADR increased 3.3% to $104.52 and its RevPAR ended the week virtually flat with a 0.9% decrease to $62.03.
Sensing a bit more stress among your ranks? The vibe shouldn’t surprise you, according to new research from PwC. Despite recent improvements in the economy, the hangover effect from the recession and slow economic growth continues to erode employees' retirement confidence and overall financial wellness, according to the accounting firm’s “U.S. 2012 Financial Wellness Survey.”
Cash flow and debt management issues continue to top employees' financial concerns, with concerns about not having sufficient emergency savings for unexpected expenses (54%) and not being able to retire on time (37%) more than doubling from last year's results of 25% and 18%, respectively. Additionally, almost half (49%) of respondents find it difficult to meet their household expenses on time, reflected in the continuation of employees using credit cards to pay for monthly necessities they couldn't afford otherwise (24%).
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.