The more you know, the better your decisions. Usually correct, unless you are trying to “peg” the vagaries of the current traveler - what they look like, what they want and where they will go. This moving target consumes our time, money and resources. Fortunately, there are people like Peter Yesawich, Vice Chairman of MMGY Global, who watch the numbers and the trends and report findings in remarkable clarity. He helps the Hospitality Marketer, considered the mystic by many, actually produce strategies and programs which make sense and money. Some of Mr. Yesawich’s recent “pulse” readings from a recent panel at the International Society of Hospitality Consultants’ Annual Conference are fascinating.
He notes that Leisure Travel, driven by affluent households (over $250,000 annual income), is leading the way, where the average American took 3.8 leisure trips in the past 12 months. This is trending upwards. Of interest here is that 20% of those travelers are grandparents, frequently bringing a grandchild or two (sometimes even accompanied by a parent) along on the adventure. So there is opportunity within the multi-generational market.
He continued his review, noting that vacations were an event almost carved in stone for many. He pointed out that the most important item on that respondent “to do” list was to get healthier (58% of responders), to become financially stable (45%) and to visit more of the world (37%). So, if you have extraordinary healthy and unusual experiences lined up, keep this activity attractively packaged and be located a bit off the beaten track – you have a winner (my thinking). “Millennials” have that particular “wanderlust”, he said, ready to try new things. Remember, they are high tech, too, so have all your portals ready to go!
Mr. Yesawich emphasized that there is still no exception with value for price. Expectations must be met, no matter the ceiling (price = stated quality and service). He added that folks are taking more last minute trips and that the value of print advertising is further declining, moving towards greater mobile usage for travel research and booking with the OTA’s still holding sway.
My look at all this is the continual need to emphasize the relationship with my customer – reach out, solicit thinking, act upon what I hear and share the results. That is my base – first priority. Then, ever mindful of the above, see where the Guest Experience I proffer lies within that expansive marketplace and target accordingly. Mr. Yesawich has given us some valuable thinking points.
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