What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
August 14, 2015
Destination Tourism
Proximity to Disney helps Kissimmee become 'vacation-home capital'
If DT Minich's vision is successful, Kissimmee will be known as the "Vacation Home Capital of the World" - complete with pro athletes and corporate executives popping in for stays at sprawling, richly appointed mansions.
"It's real exciting for us," said Minich, chief executive officer and president of Experience Kissimmee. "It's a whole different market."
Different doesn't begin to describe the luxury-rental-home market for which Kissimmee is becoming known.

Source: Orlando Sentinel.     
As the summer tourist season begins to wind down, the numbers show it's been another strong year for South Carolina's $18 billion tourism industry.
Figures released by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism show that through the first half of 2015, room occupancy and average room rates were both up, as was revenue per available room, a key indicator of industry health.
"Tourism is alive and well in South Carolina," said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. He said Monday that all the key tourism indicators are up "and the only things that are down are unemployment and gas prices."

Source: Myrtle Beach Online.     
A myriad of culprits are being called out for what some downtown Laguna Beach retailers are calling "the worst summer ever."
Hot temperatures, anomalous rainstorms, high prices, spending-cautious consumers and foul-mouthed panhandlers are among the complaints voiced by local merchants about a summer leaning towards laid-back.
Even so, not every sector of Laguna Beach's tourist-dependent economy is experiencing the doldrums.
While retailers typically count on the Christmas shopping season as their top sales period, local retailers rely on summer's tourist influx to buoy their bottom line. The wave for retail sales this summer is pretty "flat," Heidi Miller and Mark Christy, two long-time downtown retailers, agree.
Source:  The Laguna Beach Indy. 
Coastal low cost lodging: It's the law
When the Hotel del Coronado won state approval in 2010 to add 144 rooms to the luxury oceanview resort, its owners agreed to write a check for more than $1 million so that less well-heeled vacationers could afford an overnight stay on the coast - in a hostel.
Five years later, that hostel has yet to be built, but the California Coastal Commission is still trying, as it has for the last four decades, to enforce a little-known mandate that everyone, regardless of income, is entitled to affordable lodging along the coast.
Source:  The San Diego Union Tribune.     Read More...  
Vacation Rentals
Keys Crackdown On Unlicensed Vacation Rentals Underway
Since the Monroe County Tax Collector took over enforcement of unlicensed vacation rentals Jan. 1, the agency has collected $52,000 in taxes and resolved hundreds of cases, according to Tax Collector Danise Henriquez.  Homes or condos rented for less than a month at a time in the Keys are required to collect the four-cent tourism tax, which funds the Keys tourism promotion effort as well as contributing to the county coffers. In addition, it's illegal to rent short-term without a special license in most areas and those licenses are limited. 
"There's lost revenue up and down the Keys for everyone," Henriquez said. "And if they are illegally renting, we need to try and make them stop."

Source:  WLRN.org.   Read More... 
Resort communities weigh regulation, enforcement of vacation rentals
A few years ago, ski towns wrestled with finding and taxing short-term vacation rentals. Today, the impacts of the wildly popular lodging option has grown beyond tax compliance as resort communities grapple with how these properties might be pinching the local rental housing supply and changing neighborhoods.
comprehensive analysis by the Colorado Association of Ski Towns, or CAST, reveals homeowners' conversion of long-term rental properties into short-term vacation rentals as the largest rental-by-owner issue for resort communities.
Vacation rentals now join the list of challenges for mountain communities that struggle to balance the demands of their tourist-dependent economies with the need to preserve a vibrant community.
Source:  The Denver Post Business.   Read More... 

Short-term housing rental industry giant Airbnb now lists more than 1 million rooms available in 192 countries. The platform's largest market is in New York City, with more than 25,000 listings per night, but it's also where the debate over how to regulate short-term rentals is the most contentious. In light of a new report by the NY Attorney General that says nearly three-quarters of Airbnb's listings in the city are technically illegal, the city is cracking down. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

Source:  PBS Newshour. 

San Francisco Revamps Airbnb Regulations

Investors love Airbnb, but the reaction in its own backyard has been mixed.

The hometown of accommodation-sharing website Airbnb has come to a tentative resolution in a long fight over how often people can rent out their houses and apartments online.

After multiple rounds of debate over 60-day, 75-day and even 120-day caps on rentals, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to keep the current 90-day cap in place when the host is not present and allow unlimited days when the host is present.


Source:  Time Magazine.   Read More... 
Lodging Industry
Why the hotel industry is ripe for tech innovation 
As large as the hotel industry has become and as steady as it has grown over the years, the technology powering it has not kept pace. Innovation has come from companies focusing on the consumer side of travel.
Online travel agencies like Priceline and Expedia have grown to become multi-billion-dollar players dominating the customer shopping experience, and many others have tried following suit, from emerging companies like HotelTonight to retail giant Amazon, which recently launched its own hotel booking portal.
Demand share is shifting in the booking funnel, with more and more revenue slipping between hoteliers' fingertips. 

Source:  Chicago Business Journal.   Read More... 

Voice still a viable booking channel

Marketers might be focusing more on mobile devices as a means to capture bookings via optimized sites and apps, but the good-old-fashioned voice channel remains as relevant as ever. 

An April report from D.K. Shifflet and Associates found that offline reservation methods tallied 43% of all reservations in 2014, compared with 49% for laptop/desktop, 4% for smartphone and 4% for tablet.

And call center and direct-to-property channels, of which voice is a subset, accounted for 55% of hotel bookings during 2014, according to Phocuswright research. Mobile bookings made on hotel branded websites, meanwhile, accounted for only 2%.


Source:  Hotel News Now.   Read More... 
Airline Industry
Time to Weigh In: Airline Puts Passengers on Scale Before Boarding
It's not quite "pay-what-you-weigh," but one airline is putting its passengers on the scale before they board their flight.
"Please be informed that Uzbekistan Airways airline carries out the procedure of preflight weighing for determination of the average weight of passenger with hand baggage," company officials posted to their website Friday.
They're not the first airline to enact the controversial policy. In 2013, Samoa Air became the first airline to weigh passengers at the airport before boarding. Unlike Uzbekistan Airways, however, Samoa Air ticket prices are directly related to a passenger's weight.

Source:  ABC News.   Read More... 
It's time for the Uber of air travel

Airbnb changed the hotel industry. Uber changed ground transportation. So why can't the same change happen for air travel?

Airlines are ready for disruption. With only four large airlines controlling more than 80 percent of domestic air travel, the industry is a classic oligopoly. Even the government, which is currently investigating airlines for collusion, seems to agree.

Air travelers, who complain of higher prices and fewer choices, say they're ready for the next Uber to take flight. And now Congress is in a good position to actually encourage competition through smarter regulation. The latest Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, now being drafted by lawmakers, could pave the way for a more competitive airline industry.


Source:  Time Magazine.   Read More... 
Travel Trends
Skift Manifesto on the Future of Travel in 2020

Skift is three years old today.

July 30, 2012 seems like eons ago from where we are today, for us immersed in the vastness of one of the world's most exciting sectors. But that was our first day, and we are proud of where we've come since then.

Three years ago we had lots of naive hopes of conquering the world of business information in travel. Three years later, as the largest travel industry intelligence news and insights company, we hope to continue to be the naive ones. 


Source:  Skift.  Read More... 
Value-seeking Millennials Turn to the Sharing Economy

Millennials planning to spend less on summer vacations this year, are more trusting of-and likely to use-the "sharing economy" for travel, according to a survey from Allianz Global Assistance USA.

The survey, the sixth annual Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index, was based on a national representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults who were polled last month. Allianz Global is an insurance company with a specialty in travel.

Americans are generally more confident that they will be taking a vacation this summer, but they will be spending less overall on their summer vacations with the culprit being millennials turning to less expensive "sharing economy" alternatives like Airbnb, Uber and Home Away, according to the survey.  


Source:  Travel Market Report.   Read More...    

Web Gems: Are Millennials Really Using Travel Agents?
Two very different takes on millennial travel and the usefulness of travel agents have come out over the past few months. 
MMGY Global's 2014 "Portrait of the American Traveller" found that 28 percent of millennials surveyed said they'd used a travel agent over the past 12 months, the largest percentage of any age group. Meanwhile, a 2014 survey by Skift painted a drastically different picture, saying that only 10 percent of millennials surveyed used a travel agent over the past year.
So whose numbers should we believe? MMGY has been presenting the Portrait for 25 years and has shown no bias in its presentation of the statistics. Skift has, at times, been anti-travel agent but has also done quality reporting on the industry's efforts to stay relevant.
Source:  Travel Pulse.  Read More... 
Consumer confidence plunges in July

Consumer confidence took a dive this month.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 90.9 in July, a 10-month low.

Economists had estimated that the index fell to 100.0 from 101.4 in June.

In the release, the Conference Board's Lynn Franco said: "Consumer confidence declined sharply in July, following a gain in June. Consumers continue to assess current conditions favorably, but their short-term expectations deteriorated this month."


Source:  Business Insider.  
Upcoming presentations and appearances
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 Volume 56