What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...

Sept. 2nd, 2016

Destination Tourism

Florida tourism holds steady, officials say

Florida's $80 billion tourism industry is the backbone of the Sunshine State, bringing millions of tourists to its beaches and theme parks each year. And insiders say that despite the heat of the Orlando nightclub shooting and the first mosquito-borne Zika cases, it is holding steady this summer."We've been tracking numerous channels and haven't seen an impact to the destination," George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, told TMR. While the Zika outbreak was limited to a one-square-mile section of the Wynwood District of Miami, one of three new-found cases is outside the area but still in Miami-Dade County, the health department said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised pregnant women and expectant mothers to avoid travel to the area-the first time the agency issued a travel warning within the continental United States. 

Source:  Travel Market Report. 
An increase in tourism for NC beaches this summer

While it's not official, the end of summer is almost here. And as tourists flock to the beach before the summer ends, they're opening up their wallets, which is good news for local businesses. North Carolina beach tourism is up by six percent this year according to the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority. That's thanks in part to good weather and no shark attacks. "We are seeing more families coming down and taking advantage of lower fuel prices, of a less hectic schedule, and of a better economy," said Carol Lohr, Executive Director of the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority. For local business owner Wayne Ryan, this summer is shaping up to be one of his best for business, Highway 58 Bicycles. 

Source:  WNCT-Channel 9. 
Hotel occupancy and airfares drop for tourists to Miami
Travelers have booked fewer hotel rooms in downtown Miami, and leisure airfares to the greater Miami area have inched down in the weeks since the Zika virus was detected there, data reviewed by Reuters shows. Hotels sold 2.9 percent fewer rooms in Miami's central business district and northern neighborhoods during the first three weeks of August than they did a year earlier in the same period, according to hotel data and analytics firm STR. That area includes the Wynwood arts district where on July 29 Florida officials said they confirmed cases of people who contracted the virus, marking the first transmissions by mosquitoes in the continental United States. The decline in hotel bookings may be an early indication of the virus's effect on Miami's robust tourism industry, which had an economic impact of $24.4 billion in 2015, according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Source: Skift. 
California hotel sales drop severely after record year
Hoteliers across the state of California have seen a steep drop-off in transactions through the first half of 2016 after a record-shattering 2015, according to research from Atlas Hospitality Group.  Alan Reay, president of Atlas, said a combination of three factors led to a 56% year-over-year decline in total-dollar-volume transactions: Tough numbers to compare to in 2015, a first quarter stock market slowdown and a shift in pricing leading to a gap between buyers' and sellers' expectations.  "The first quarter was very, very ugly in terms of transactions, and people didn't know what direction the market was heading," Reay said. "The second quarter picked up again, but if anything sums up the first six months, it's that buyers were very cautious."  In addition to the drop in dollar volume, California saw a 17% drop in individual transactions. 

Source: Hotel News Now. 
Grim news kept people away from Disney, Universal and other theme parks, analysts say
It's 9:01 a.m. and a stream of sweaty tourists is pressing through the entrance gates and hoofing it to the back of the park at Universal's Islands of Adventure. At this moment in early August, it's a 45-minute wait for the behemoth ride called Skull Island: Reign of Kong, which opened July 14. The wait will grow to more than 80 minutes for the rest of the day. That may seem long. But the wait times actually belie a slower-than-usual summer at Florida theme parks. Experts expect the final tally to show a slight fizzle to the state's previously sizzling attendance figures. Now, they are looking ahead to the horrors of Halloween for some hope. Heading into this summer, all signs were pointing to another banner year for Florida's attractions after five straight years of record-setting attendance and revenue leaps. 

Source:  Tampa Bay Times. 
Vacation Rentals

How Wyndham Plans to Tackle Vacation Rental Disruptors
The vacation rental market has undergone a seismic realignment since the twin juggernauts of HomeAway and Airbnb bounded onto the scene in the mid 2000s.
Both companies - operating with slightly different models - helped to shift consumer expectations when it came to taking a holiday in someone else's house. So what do you do if you are a legacy business working in that environment today?

According to Gail Mandel, CEO of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, the key is educating the public on the biggest differences among companies operating in the space.  "I think that the biggest challenges that we've seen is that [there are] some of the newer models that are still catching up from a regulatory standpoint, so there's a little bit of confusion by the consumers about professionally managed versus the listings model," she told Skift.

Source:  Skift. 
Small towns can't handle the sharing economy tourism boom
In the teeny-tiny village of Joshua Tree, California, population 7,000, there are more than 200 vacation rentals on Airbnb. Travelers can also rent a vacation getaway through VRBO and HomeAway, or "camp" on someone else's property through HipCamp. Just this month, a new option for the tech-minded traveler popped up there: small pods that nature-lovers can rent that include access to outdoor showers and a communal kitchen. Joshua Tree has always attracted tourists because it borders the magnificent Joshua Tree National Park. But in the age of Airbnb, it's starting to feel overrun by visitors. And it's not alone: It's become so easy to find a place to stay in once remote small towns that permanent residents are feeling overwhelmed by the influx. 

Source:  Fusion. 
Sports Tourism

Remember the final round of the 2005 Masters, when Tiger Woods used the slope to chip in for birdie on the 16th hole? The ball seemingly stopped a fraction of an inch short of the cup only to, after a poignant pause allowing the world to see NIKE's iconic swoosh, fall in. Hall of Fame sportscaster Verne Lundquist exclaimed, "In your life! Have you ever seen anything like it?" At the time he was talking about the shot. Historians can now also say, he was talking about the ball. NIKE has bailed on golf. No more bags, balls or clubs with the logo on them (only shoes and apparel). They followed the lead of Adidas ten weeks earlier, who announce they would sell TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth becasue they were losing money on equipment (except for shoes and apparel). Golf courses are closing at a rate of 12 to 1 vs. courses being opened.

Source:  News-Press. 
Airline Industry

Will Airfares Continue to Decline in 2016?
Airfare vs. Fuel Cost 2015 was the year of aggressive capacity expansions and falling utilizations. Such a situation usually results in price wars, which was the case in 2015. According to a study by Expedia with help from Airlines Reporting, industry-wide airfares fell by about 5% in 2015. According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, average domestic airfares fell by 7.8% to $361 in 1Q16 as compared to $392 in 1Q15. This is the lowest inflation-adjusted average fare since 2010.  However, airlines have had higher success rates in hiking air ticket prices this year. Airlines successfully hiked airfares 50% of the times this year as compared to the 18% success rate between 2013 and 2015.  The first successful hike was by Delta Airlines (DAL), which led to a $6 increase in airfare on a round trip. The second successful hike was by JetBlue Airways (JBLU), which again led to a $6 increase in airfare on a round trip.

Source:  Market Realist. 

Terrorism in Europe. A failed coup attempt in Turkey. The Syrian refugee crisis. The Zika virus. Brexit. The list goes on. There are plenty of reasons for American vacationers to take pause this year when planning their next vacation. North American travel agents, however, say the public is still traveling despite concerns. In fact, major travel agencies are still expecting 2016 to be a growth year for the industry. "In the overall leisure industry, we do see growth from passenger and revenue standpoint," said Travel Leaders Leisure Grouphead John Lovell. "I don't think its as strong and robust as we turned the year in January and February. We were like everybody, optimistic about the outlook, but some unfortunate things did happen along the way. Europe as a market has been somewhat depressed, but the consumer is very resilient." 

Source:  Skift. 
Despite what you may have heard, millennials aren't lazy. It fact, they're downright work-obsessed-and it's making life worse for everyone else, says a new study. A report from Project: Time Off, an organization started by the U.S. Travel Association to change American work attitudes and behavior, says  increased work pressures and a 24/7 always-on attitude have caused many Americans to increasingly abandon their vacation days. It's estimated that 55% of working Americans didn't use all of their vacation days in 2015, leaving behind 658 million days of unused PTO. The decline in vacation day usage began in 2000, just as the oldest millennials-those born around 1980-started to enter the workforce. Project: Time Off's report, The Work Martyr's Cautionary Tale: How the Millennial Work Experience Will Define America's Vacation Culture, says that the youngest generation in the U.S. workforce has created an era of work martyrdom, prioritizing work above family and personal happiness.

Source: Travel + Leisure. 
Although the prime season is still underway, innkeepers and retailers are seeing fewer visitors from north of the border. Business is down 15 percent this year at Richards by the Sea, a quaint Old Orchard Beach motel where usually about half the guests are Canadian. Some Canadians cited the sluggish economy and the weak Canadian dollar, which is worth about 78 cents now, when calling to say they couldn't afford to visit Maine this summer, or had to cut their usual stay from five days to three, owner Lisa Gribbin said. That left Gribbin with empty rooms on Mondays and Tuesdays in July and August, the quieter days of the high season that she usually sells out to snowbound, beach-starved Canadians months in advance. "I've got some holes in my calendar this year where in the past there was none," Gribbin said.

Source: Portland Press Herald. 

Consumer were feeling more optimistic in August, according to a survey released on Tuesday. The Consumer Confidence Index hit 101.1 in August, The Conference Board said. Economists expected consumer confidence to hit 97 in August, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. July's consumer confidence reading was revised to 96.7 from 97.3. "Consumer confidence improved in August to its highest level in nearly a year, after a marginal decline in July," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the trade group, said in a statement.The survey, a closely followed barometer of consumer attitudes, measures sentiment toward business conditions, short-term outlook, personal finances and jobs.

Source: CNBC. 
Case Study:
The Value of Forward-Looking Lodging Performance Data
The Situation: 
A destination marketing organization (DMO) who is responsible for marketing their destination and attracting visitors to their community uses several metrics to gauge their success and to build their marketing plan. They include:
  • Sales & lodging tax collections 
  • Smith Travel Research reports
  • Visitor Intercept Studies
  • Special Event Attendance
  • Attraction (theme park, golf, etc.) Sales
  • Feedback from the business community
The Problem:
These metrics are all based on historical data so adjustments to marketing efforts cannot be made in enough to make an impact in the short term.  Hotels and Vacation Rentals offer a wealth of information on advance reservations and year over year pacing allowing for marketing adjustments to be made "on the fly".  However, they are not usually open to sharing their data directly with their DMO or competitors. 
The Solution:
DestiMetrics serves as a third party data aggregator who collects data (while maintaining confidentiality) from the hotels, condominiums and vacation rentals within a destination.  It is then put in to reports that show destination wide lodging performance.  This includes historic actual data and on-the-books data, which allows DMOs to more nimble and reactive to pacing and need periods.  Once gentrified, this process becomes seamless and DMOs and properties find that they rely heavily on this data to make smarter decisions for their business and their community.

DestiMetrics programs that include forward-looking data are:
For more information or for a demo, please contact 

"The DestiMetrics program and forecasting tools can take the professionally onsite managed Property Management sector to the next level by quantifying what our segment represents in the entire travel industry."

Paul Wolford
Vice President at

Upcoming Events & Presentations

Southeast Tourism Society Fall Forum

September 7 - 9

Birmingham, AL


Florida's Governor's Conference on Tourism

Sept 7 - 9

Orlando, FL


Central Reservations Association of Destination Resorts (CRADR) Fall Meeting

October 3 & 4

Alyeska Resort, AK


Summit Chamber COO Breakfast

October 4

Copper Mountain, CO


 November 6 - 10

Tampa, FL


Onsite Property Management Association (OPMA) Fall Summit

November 9- 11

Sandestin, FL


Vail Town Council & Economic Advisory Council Presentation

December 20

Vail, CO


Let us know if you'd like to connect at any of these events.
Quick Links
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn

 Volume 65

DestiMetrics LLC | 678 S. Franklin | Denver | CO | 80209