2012 Travel Trends
It is being reported that in most markets transient demand and occupancy in 2011 has almost returned to the peak levels of 2007, and will continue to grow in 2012 albeit at a slower pace. In Louisville’s case, we are behind by just .6% from our 2007 pace. However reports indicate that average daily rate (ADR) continues to trail 2007 numbers. The reason is that a new traveler has emerged over the past three years. Customers are looking for a very specific price/value proposition. Those hoteliers that can be resistant to price decreases in 2012 as a strategy to drive occupancy and instead focus on value increases should see positive results to their bottom line.
Nationally, group business continued to strengthen during 2011 and Louisville experienced that first-hand with strong attendance in trade shows as well as a surge in other meeting segments. Demand for 2012 is expected to continue to grow but will barely reach 2008 levels. The national trend of meetings continuing to be shorter in duration has sustained along with the elimination of a signature event or meal period. In Louisville we are encouraged by the recent growth in small meeting inquiries and hope that this trend continues into 2012. We are slightly off pace with the mega convention segment in 2012 thus opening the door for our hotel partners to capture more of the small meetings market.
Another important travel trend that is emerging is the use of travel technology. There will be a growing demand for hotels to become more social and viral in their marketing efforts; consumers will continue to look for the best value proposition as hotel rates rise. As we are experiencing from the Expedia booking engine on our www.gotolouisville.com web site, travelers are shopping and looking for the best deal and with the best value added to it. In 2012, consumers again will be willing to invest more time in the research process in order to save money. The growing adoption of web-enabled mobile devices in conjunction with mobile sites and social marketing will likely revolutionize how many companies do business in 2012 and beyond. The LCVB is an excellent destination marketing organization model of how it has been able to integrate effectively most all elements of traditional marketing with the current mobile marketing while successfully integrating social media into our every day media programming. The LCVB was just recently ranked as having the #3 best social media program out of 490 DMO’s nationwide. Those companies that respond and adapt quickly to this new trend will likely capture a growing share of this market segment. The LCVB will continue to do all that it can to lead Louisville into 2012.