How are Hotels Handling an Increase in International Travel?

It used to be, if you were able to travel abroad you were considered lucky or wealthy.

Now it’s not surprising that international travel is showing a huge increase.

Anyone can click a couple of buttons and book a flight to anywhere in the world. The amount of travel photos, articles, and blogs all over social media spark wanderlust across the world. The idea of traveling abroad is no longer a wishful item on a bucket list, but an easily attainable reality.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the amount of international tourism is predicted to increase to 1.4 billion people by the year 2020.

The U.S. alone, is estimated to have a 5% growth this year.

According to Forbes, the U.S. travel market is currently on track to hit a record-breaking $370 billion by the end of the year. That includes, airlines, lodging, car rentals, cruises, rail, and travel packages. Hotels alone are estimated to have 5-6% growth and $1.5 billion (also record breaking) in gross bookings.

All good news right? Well, maybe. Some industry analysts are concerned that this continued growth won’t last much longer. Historically speaking, the hotel industry shows long term growth followed by a downward turn throughout a 10 year cycle.

The last cycle ended in 2010, meaning we’re coming up on the next one pretty soon. Due to the increase in international travel, there are some concerns about where the tourism industry is headed.

With an increase in demand, places including New York and Chicago have been struggling to increase their hotel rates due to the onslaught of new supply.

To put it into perspective: according to Deloitte’s 2018 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook states that New York City has a total of 634 hotels which is a 55% increase from 2008.

Combine that with the increasingly popular option of booking private accommodations (such as Airbnb or similar) on the rise. Hotels are forced to figure out how get noticed in the crowd, while keeping their prices competitive AND make a profit.

International tourism is predicted to increase to 1.4 billion people by the year 2020.

Smaller properties are struggling to keep their rooms filled, resulting in cutbacks in areas like maintenance or service. However, mid-sized hotels are making waves by starting new trends.

Mid-sized hotels have the ability to add additional amenities or spend money on interior face lifts. Some examples might include, modern aesthetics and communal spaces. Even upgrading their technology.

They have more flexibility compared to their larger competition. Larger chain hotels have more rooms to update and require a larger staff to operate. Which makes it less flexible for big changes.

They’re raising the bar within the consumer world and there is only a growing awareness in opportunity. Will this travel trend continue to rise in the following years? If it does, I’d imagine that the entire concept of hotels as we know it will have a vastly new meaning and expectation.

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