March 22 2012 by Bryson Forbes
I have just finished reading, "Advancing the Issues," the annual report that is produced by The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). My good friend, Tony Pollard, who happens to be the President of the HAC sent me my advanced copy. This report has become THE barometer for travel intentions from Canadians from both a leisure and business travel perspective.
Each year in January the HAC get survey responses from approximately 1,500 Canadians and compare their intentions going all the way back to 2006.
Here are a few of the key highlights from this years report:
- Business travel is expected to increase by 4% in 2012, and climbs back to within 1% of the highest level recorded in 2008. Leisure travel however is expected to be flat against last year.
- The cost of airfare continues to be a huge issue and 33% of travellers indicate they will head to the U.S. to access to cheaper airfares. This is up dramatically from 15% in 2011. Ontario travellers led the way last year 21% and those between 35-44 accounted for 23%. Not surprisingly this is more prevalent with leisure travellers.
- Internet bookings continue to increase, business bookers up 10% online while leisure travellers up 20%. Websites and mobile apps are of critical importance as travellers continue to be more comfortable online. Now almost two thirds of leisure bookings are completed online versus only 21% over the phone or in person. Only four years ago, the phone was 46% and online was 33%.
- Business travellers indicated that complimentary breakfast and free in-room Internet access are the top two factors that will lead to more travel in 2012.
- Tele-conferencing jumped dramatically in 2011 with 29% of business travellers indicating it was a factor that led to less travel last year. In 2010 only 16% indicated this was a factor and only 15% in 2009. This is something that everyone needs to have their eyes on. As the technology improves and more people have positive experiences this could have a big impact on the business travel sector.
- Despite some new factors both leisure travellers 87% and business travellers 90% continue to indicate that friendly service is a critical factor.
The sixty-two page report is full of great stats and I will certainly continue to reference the report. Next week I will take a look at a few of the new and emerging trends, things like food, mobile implications and blogs!