16. July 2012 · Comments Off on Sustainable luxury in the 21st Century · Categories: Green Travel

The world as we know it is changing, and this change is being reflected in the way that we perceive luxury travel experiences.  The notion of sustainable luxury is no longer an anomaly, and in fact is now an irrevocable part of the future of the luxury travel business model.

Lumiere Associates is quoted in this excellent article on the subject written by Emily Manson for the Hotel & Caterer magazine, in May 2012 – ‘Responsible Hospitality – how to offer luxury without the guilt’

Caterer article 

09. January 2012 · Comments Off on Top 10 Hospitality Trends for 2012 · Categories: Trends

Many hoteliers agree that 2012 is looking optimistic, and to capitalise on this projected upswing it is useful to review some of the opportunities and challenges of the hospitality marketplace.

Image: Ksar Char Bagh Morocco

Here is an interesting list of the Top 10 Hospitality Industry Trends for 2012 compiled by Robert Rauch, president of R.A. Rauch & Associates, a San Diego-based hospitality management company www.hotelguru.com:

  1. Hoteliers will invest in reinvigorating properties to take advantage of the market.
    After years of delaying capital expenditures, hotel companies are betting that now is the best opportunity to renovate their properties. In 2012, we’ll see even more hotels renovating lobbies, restaurants, bars and fitness centers, as well as replacing beds, TVs, and more. Hotel sales, an absolute outcome of an improved market, will spur even more renovations since sale contracts always contain a provision requiring the new owner to upgrade the property.
  2. There will be little to no new development dollars on the debt or equity Side.
    This is good news for most, but bad news for the developers who genuinely have enviable sites in great markets. Despite that, optimism reigns. A great deal can, and will, get done. We’ve seen it. In fact, we’re working on one ourselves.
  3. Online booking will continue to (modestly) grow.
    The number of U.S. travelers booking and researching online is still growing. More than 114 million people will research travel online this year, while 94 million will actually book reservations. While more than 50 percent of travel bookings are made on the Internet, the online travel market has matured and I expect modest growth and stabilization.
  4. There will be more mobile bookings and research.
    More and more travelers will be turning to their mobile devices to not only research lodging and travel options, but to book and communicate room preferences directly with the hotel. Mobile channel booking has increased four-fold between 2008 and 2010 according to Forrester Research. Plus, Google is projecting that mobile will overtake PCs as the most common Web-access device by 2013. With travelers adopting smartphones and tablets at such a rapid pace, it’s crucial for hoteliers to optimize their website for mobile usage to capture potential mobile transactions.
  5. Demand and average rate are up in most markets, but not equally distributed.
    The top 25 markets in the U.S., and those that were really battered at the height of the recession, have seen the most bounce by and large. Many secondary and tertiary markets have not seen a strong recovery to date.
  6. Revenue management will make the art of managing a hotel more of a science.
    Revenue management has morphed from the days it was first introduced by the airline industry in the 1970s to being a complex science today. Managers have always lowered prices to stimulate sales when demand is weak and have raised prices during peak demand periods. Hotels are now able to update prices for all future arrival dates to match market demands each day, via advanced market intelligence applications. TravelClick has pace reports for transient and group demand that look at bookings one year in advance. Plus, Smith Travel Research will soon introduce reports offering intelligence looking at future bookings, rather than solely historic figures.
  7. Proliferation of distribution channel management will largely impact pricing.
    More than ever, it will be vital for hotel owners and operators to stay on top of the distribution landscape that is expanding beyond OTAs, including popular sales vehicles such as meta-search, flash sales and mobile channels. Beyond simple awareness of the different mediums available to sell hotel rooms, hoteliers must know the costs of the variety of distribution channels and the returns expected from each. Hoteliers must preserve rate parity and their brand by utilizing the most cost-effective distribution channels, instead of using desperate measures to sell inventory.
  8. Brands will put more money into deals to expand market share.
    The brands are at war for the development deals that have a chance to get financed. Starwood, Hyatt, and Intercontinental are aggressively pursuing the Hilton and Marriott juggernaut. Whether it’s key money, mezzanine debt or equity, seasoned developers will have their way with the brands as they fight for share of the new builds.
  9. Prepare for growth.
    However, know where we are in the game. We are in the second inning of the industry when compared to a baseball game with the peak or 9th inning coming in 2016…use caution from 2017 and beyond. These next five years will see hotel values with annualized double digit growth. Demand will stabilize in 2012 but rates will grow beyond the rate of inflation. That means profits and values improve markedly.
  10. Social media will continue to transform connections with travelers.
    By 2016, half of the travel industry will be using social media as a way of generating revenue and bookings. Currently more than one-fifth (22 percent) use social media as a revenue generating tool with a further 27 percent planning to do so over the next five years. Plus, social media will become more of a key component of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) algorithms. Facebook’s posts are already integrated into Bing search and Google+ emerged with native integration into Google search. Hotels can no longer afford to linger over adding social media to their marketing mix. It’s now a necessary element of traffic-driving success.
06. December 2011 · Comments Off on Holistic hotel design · Categories: Green Travel

A new paradigm in international tourism has been established through the growing trend of holistic hotel and resort design, according to leading industry architects, interior designers, and sustainable tourism consultants.

This view promotes a holistic development system integrating body, mind and spirit to create balanced, self-renewing and sustainable tourism developments.

“International tourism can make significant positive changes to the world, particularly in the third world, where many countries are turning to tourism to build economic growth,” says a leading sustainable architect.

“By taking a leadership role in holistic sustainable development, we are helping protect the world’s delicate ecology, as well as the interests of all stakeholders including indigenous people and local communities,” he continues.

Read More

06. December 2011 · Comments Off on The Spa Explosion · Categories: Green Travel

The past decade has seen exponential growth in luxury hotel spas and spa resorts, due mainly to significant customer demand, and  the fact that margins on spa operations are among the largest in the hotel industry.

So what explains this dramatic rise in customer demand?  Although many reasons are often cited, many link the growth primarily to aging baby boomers, and the global growth in high net worth individuals,  whose stress levels and need for self-actualisation have increased along with their net worth.

In addition, other factors such as the  loss of job security have created a worried and time-poor population, in greater need of relaxation and its related health benefits.   People are less formal and ‘younger’ in mind and spirit than they were 10 years ago, with many focusing on personal appearance to remain youthful.

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06. December 2011 · Comments Off on Is Sustainable Travel a PR exercise? · Categories: Green Travel

According to some of the world’s leading climate change experts,  the earth and its environment are going through some momentous changes, and there is no doubt that travel and tourism organisations can play a critical role in helping arrest environmental degradation.

As more regions and countries develop their tourism industries, to reflect the growing rate of tourism, major changes are being made to natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems.

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30. May 2011 · Comments Off on World Travel Market ‘Shades of Green’ · Categories: Green Travel

Thanks for joining us!  Please feel free to peruse our list of articles, or read this special report prepared for World Travel Market called ‘Shades of Green’, an analysis of green policies in the hotel industry.

WTM Lumiere