President Obama’s travel initiative will provide a boost to the United States travel industry, but members of the sector will have to take a more aggressive tact on the global stage to take full advantage, leaders from three travel associations said during the closing day of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, according to HotelNewsNow.com’s Patrick Mayock.
“It’s important for us to make sure that we unite … because it’s important to our industry that we all got involved to make sure this Brand USA concept really works,” said Jim Evans, CEO of Brand USA.
The organization’s official launch in November came not a moment too soon, Evans said. After a “lost decade” in which the U.S. travel industry’s share of worldwide travel dropped from 17% in 2000 to 12.4% in 2011, it’s more important than ever before to get the U.S. back on the minds of consumers.
That’s a tall order, said David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Emerging markets such as China and India will take the lion’s share of the growing travel market. Of the projected 2 billion middle-class consumers coming into the market place during the next 10 years, 1.5 billion are in China and India alone, he said.
In more ALIS coverage, HotelNewsNow.com’s Shawn A. Turner reports that lenders had their opportunity to talk about their activity in the hotel sector.
Panel moderator Patrick J. Deming, managing director at Eastdil Secured, asked Raphael Fishbach, principal at bridge loan lender Mesa West Capital, to comment on real-estate mogul Donald Trump’s comments that banks “have let the industry down” by not providing more money for hotels.
Fishbach responded by saying lenders have been active in the industry and now are possibly bumping up against allocation guidelines set by the individual lenders.
That said, the lenders represented on the panel all expressed a willingness to deploy leverage to hotels.
“I think there’s room to rally,” said Christopher Chee, a managing director in the real estate group for the Blackstone Group.
Denihan Hospitality Group is aiming to double the size of its portfolio during the next five years, reports HotelNewsNow.com’s Jeff Higley.
Denihan is an owner-operator of 13 hotels comprising approximately 3,500 rooms. The company is examining two to four properties a year in trying to find deals that make the most sense, president David Duncan said during a break at last week’s Americas Lodging Investment Summit.
“We recognize we are operating in most competitive markets in terms of investing,” Duncan said. “To imagine you’re going to find something at a stupid cheap price is unlikely.”
The organizers of this year’s Summer Olympics in London are returning 20% of the roomnights it booked for the games to the market, according to the Telegraph newspaper.
As part of the bid to host the Games, agreements were struck to provide approximately 40,000 rooms, representing more than 600,000 roomnights, at more than 200 hotels. An agreement was in place that the London organizing committee would return any unwanted rooms.
In an analysis of smartphone buying habits, travel metasearch site Kayak found that iPhone users, along with those using the Android operating system, are the most active in downloading mobile apps, according to a tnooz report.
Kayak has seen more than 10 million downloads of its mobile apps for iPhone/iPad; Android; Blackberry; Nokia; Windows Phone 7; and HP Touchpad. Most of those downloads have come from iPhone and Android users, according to Paul English, Kayak’s co-founder and chief technology officer.
That said, it’s the iPhone users who are most active in buying travel-related services online, English said. Android users mostly don’t buy travel products online.
Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.