June 24 2009 by Bryson Forbes
I was very fortunate to have been able to participate in Canada's Leisure Travel Summit, hosted by Best Western on June the 9th in Toronto. The event brought together some leading executives from the travel industry to discuss current issues and trends.
Although we discussed and pontificated over many topics, three key issues captured much of the air time:
1) What will it take to get travellers back out on the road?
Value, value, value. Budget-conscious travellers need to be enticed this summer. It is important to note that value should not be thought of as simply price. Best Western is a great example of a company that understands that value is a combination of exceptional service and a great price. They are using innovative offers, highlighting the benefits of their loyalty program and showcasing the extra amenities that are always included as a demonstration of great value. Check out some of their latest deals here!
2) What type of vacations are people look for this summer?
This summer it looks like the good old fashioned road trip is popular again. Canadian businesses that rely on Americans tourists are turning to a more local crowd to fill demand which means more Canadians are hitting the road. If you are planning a road trip, CAA offers some great road trip tools to help you plan like Trip Tik travel planners. Check out your local club's Web site for more info. Also, marketing campaigns have already begun trying to keep Canadians at home. If you haven't had a look at the new promotion Locals Know from the Canadian Tourism Commission, here is a taste http://www.youtube.com/watch.
3) Where should travellers go to find the best deals?
The panel talked a lot about the popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Industry leaders and innovators are finding ways to strengthen the relationship with their customers in this new medium. They also are pushing out deals, so "fan" your favourite hotel chain on Facebook, "follow" a cruise line on Twitter and sign up for emails and newsletters that will deliver the best deals right to you!
How about you. Are you planning to hit the road this summer? If so, where to?