The year 2009 was a year of ups and downs for hotels in particular and the global travel industry in general. There were many events and developments that helped shape the outlook of the hotel industry over the past 12 months. Let us take a look back at 2009 and identify these developments.
Who can forget the global H1N1 virus scare that rocked the world? Some surveys suggest that many travelers will be more concerned about germs and health-related issues in general, thanks to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. This has thankfully led to more stringent measures and health awareness on the part of the establishments.
The global recession was clearly still in effect the whole year round, and there will even be some repercussions heading into 2010. There are still some significant properties and establishments being shopped and sold. However, it should be noted that, while some companies have been selling their hotels, there are those that are utilizing the sale to expand their core properties. That is a positive sign, showing growth and a willingness to expand despite the continued pinch given by the recession.
In 2009, eco-tourism and eco-friendly destinations started taking the spotlight, as both the travelers and the various establishments have become more and more environmentally conscious. Destinations such as Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland are the top dogs when it comes to eco-friendly places to visit. The hotels in such countries also benefit tremendously because of the influx of travelers, and a lot of them have already adopted an eco-friendly mentality to go with the times.
Of course, there are also many hotel groups-from smaller-scale local establishments to big chains of luxury hotels-who have re-evaluated their business approach and have made changes to their various investment strategies. This is a wise move, still in line with managing the costs and income in an economic landscape that still is not as stable as desired.
Another trend in 2009 was an increased patronage for online travel services, such as booking sites and aggregators that really are a big help to travelers. Still, traditional booking occupies a significant chunk of the pie, even with online services gaining some headway over the past year.
Some establishments, from hotels to apartments to luxury spas, have shown a diminishing level of performance in the middle of the year. The good thing is that some of them have been able to recover quite nicely and gain back some lost ground-and some lost ratings-to get back on track.
There are indications that leisure spending on the side of the travelers will go up in 2010, and that is a definite plus for the hotel industry. More people willing to spend more money translate to more business opportunities for hotels and other members of the hospitality industry.
All in all, it was another year and another step to recovery in 2009. Things are shaping up quite nicely for 2010, and hopefully, hotels and their respective managements learned a lot in the past year and start to apply them in order to flip the script this coming year.
It is almost certain that at least a few of your guests will be traveling to the wedding from out of town. If they have decided to take time off work and travel to your destination then the least you can do is make sure you do your best to take care of them.
Some couples may choose to pay for their out-of-town guests’ lodging, of course, if it fits within their budget. If it does not, here are some guidelines and suggestions to help you along the way.
Contact hotels in your area to see if you can get any discounted rates when booking a group reservation. Many hotels do offer discount packages or sometimes even give you a free room with a certain number of rooms booked. Don’t limit yourself to one hotel but offer two, one moderately priced and one more expensive. This will give your guests the option to choose the one that fits within their budget. Also, consider the location. Is it close to the place you are holding your ceremony and/or reception? If not, then you must consider car rental or shuttle service to accommodate these guests. You cannot leave them stranded at the hotel!
Once the decisions have been made on the accommodations, ensure to put a piece of paper in the invitation with the hotels’ names, rates, addresses, company phone number/email and proximity to the church/venue. Should a car rental or shuttle service be required, include their contact information as well. It is very important to provide all this to your guests so they can make an informed decision on how and where they will be travelling.
If your budget allows, putting a small welcome basket in each hotel room would be a memorable gesture. In addition you can have a small itinerary of the weekend’s events such as the rehearsal dinner or family barbecue or breakfast, should they like to attend. If not, list some local attractions such as area shopping malls, sports stadiums, beaches or parks, and popular restaurants.
If these options seem to have too many added costs, then you can consider opening up the idea to close family and friends to take these guests in while in town. To some this may present an inconvenience, but many will be more than happy to do this. You can arrange to have family cars available to them for use as well. Ideally, this is the perfect solution for out-of-town guests as they only have to pay for their flight, train or car ride to the wedding.
No matter which option you choose, the main thing to keep in mind is that your goal is creating an enjoyable experience for all your guests, something that is possible on any budget. Good luck!