The Year That Was – Hotel and Travel Industry in 2009

The year 2009 was a year of ups and downs for hotels in particular and the global travel industry in general. There were many events and developments that helped shape the outlook of the hotel industry over the past 12 months. Let us take a look back at 2009 and identify these developments.

Who can forget the global H1N1 virus scare that rocked the world? Some surveys suggest that many travelers will be more concerned about germs and health-related issues in general, thanks to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. This has thankfully led to more stringent measures and health awareness on the part of the establishments.

The global recession was clearly still in effect the whole year round, and there will even be some repercussions heading into 2010. There are still some significant properties and establishments being shopped and sold. However, it should be noted that, while some companies have been selling their hotels, there are those that are utilizing the sale to expand their core properties. That is a positive sign, showing growth and a willingness to expand despite the continued pinch given by the recession.

In 2009, eco-tourism and eco-friendly destinations started taking the spotlight, as both the travelers and the various establishments have become more and more environmentally conscious. Destinations such as Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland are the top dogs when it comes to eco-friendly places to visit. The hotels in such countries also benefit tremendously because of the influx of travelers, and a lot of them have already adopted an eco-friendly mentality to go with the times.

Of course, there are also many hotel groups-from smaller-scale local establishments to big chains of luxury hotels-who have re-evaluated their business approach and have made changes to their various investment strategies. This is a wise move, still in line with managing the costs and income in an economic landscape that still is not as stable as desired.

Another trend in 2009 was an increased patronage for online travel services, such as booking sites and aggregators that really are a big help to travelers. Still, traditional booking occupies a significant chunk of the pie, even with online services gaining some headway over the past year.

Some establishments, from hotels to apartments to luxury spas, have shown a diminishing level of performance in the middle of the year. The good thing is that some of them have been able to recover quite nicely and gain back some lost ground-and some lost ratings-to get back on track.

There are indications that leisure spending on the side of the travelers will go up in 2010, and that is a definite plus for the hotel industry. More people willing to spend more money translate to more business opportunities for hotels and other members of the hospitality industry.

All in all, it was another year and another step to recovery in 2009. Things are shaping up quite nicely for 2010, and hopefully, hotels and their respective managements learned a lot in the past year and start to apply them in order to flip the script this coming year.

Tips To Find Cheap Hotels – Pinching Pennies On Travel Accommodation

Finding travel accommodation can be one of the most tedious and time consuming tasks particularly if you want something that matches your budget, your liking and your holiday destination. The internet is one of the best places to find cheap hotels as you get to look at the available options and compare prices for the best deals. But, that’s not the only thing to do to negotiate hotel charges and secure bargains.

Here are tips from seasoned travelers to get the best deals on holiday accommodation.

1. Price Comparison Sites:
Why I suggest going for them is because they aggregate price quotes from varied search engines and display them on their sites. They let you choose your hotel based on the date of travel, the duration of stay and the place of stay. A few also allow you to state the price you are willing to pay and present options based on it. After you get the estimate, you should call in at the hotel to enquire about additional charges.

2. Coupons Books and Daily Deal Sites:
If you are looking to find cheap hotels that do not compromise on comfort or the amenities, try to get a discount. Discount sites and daily deal sites carry coupons and travel deals that you can redeem when you make your reservation. However, you have to be quick in picking them up. You can also get coupon books distributed at convenience stores and rest stops once you arrive. Very often they have better deals than those on the hotel’s website. You might also be entitled to travel discounts if you are a member of an organization.

3. Opt For a Package:
This is like buying in bulk; you get it cheaper even if you are staying at an expensive hotel. It usually includes accommodation, travel, food and other amenities. To get information on the latest packages and deals from your favorite hotel chains, you can sign-up for their newsletters.

4. Visit During Off Season:
If you are on a very strict budget and are finding cheap hotels, it would be best to travel during off-season. To add, you can plan your vacation to cover weekdays. This way you can get an option that matches your pocket without spoiling your holiday experience.

5. Check The Neighborhood:
Finding cheap hotels is not only about locating a hotel with low-priced rooms and amenities. It could also mean getting a hotel in the right location. If you find a cheap hotel, but it is far away from the main center, especially the attractions, all the savings on accommodation will be spent on travel.

6. Travel Reward Points:
This is a scheme offered by most credit card companies today. They give you reward points when you sign up and keep adding to your account every time you shop using their cards. These travel reward points dispense with the need to find cheap hotels. They let you stay at the best places for free or at a fraction of the actual cost.

7. Keep Your Travel Dates Flexible:
You can also get a hotel cheap by keeping your travel dates flexible. Find out which are the best days to stay at a hotel.

8. Go For a Cheap Hotel:
Everything cheap is not bad. There are budgeted hotels that offer clean hotel rooms with the basic facilities to afford a comfortable stay. They only cut out on the extra amenities. If you are on a strict budget, this could be the best option for you.

Using Travel Guides to Your Benefit

When it comes to travelling; basically there are two kinds of people. The first kind plans their entire vacation right from the time they leave their house to the time they return whereas the others just go to the place, book themselves into a hotel and then decide what to do.

But, if you’re planning on visiting a new city there are plenty of travel guides that would be able to help you plan your vacation; however, there are plenty of people waiting to mint cash from you and therefore make sure that you only buy official travel guides as they’d have everything you need to know.

Use the travel guide to plan

One of the best ways of using the travel guide is by flipping through the pages of the brochure, check out the places you would love to visit and write them down on a separate piece of paper or on your phone.

Once that’s done you could then begin your journey by visiting the places in order based on their proximity to each other. As far as possible hire a professional travel guide so that they would help you reach all those places in the least amount of time – else you’d be travelling in circles.

Also, while you’re travelling from a place to the next, you could use your smartphone or laptop to check out what you could do in the area, usually you’d find a lot of interesting articles on each place you visit.

Find out about dangers using the guide

There are also times when you need to be careful about visiting a few places and your travel guide would point those out as well. You may find a mountain range really beautiful and plan a hiking trip, but the time of the year that you’re visiting could be avalanche season – so, make sure that you read the guide thoroughly before you plan.

Use them to learn about the place

Your travel guide is probably a comprehensive book and it would contain a lot of information on each and every place mentioned. Using the book you would be able to check out the history of the place as well as it’s cultures and traditions.

If you’re lucky, a bit of the ancient culture could still be alive in some parts of the city and if you’re interested you could ask your travel guide to take you to that part of town.

A travel guide isn’t a book, it’s basically just a kind of glossary that gives you information that you would find when you scratch the surface. If you’re looking forward to having a true adventure, you would need to conduct your very own research on the particular heritage site, garden or just about any place you visit within a city.

They prevent you from being cheated

When you use a travel guide, it would also include the fares that you would need to pay your tour guide as well as taxi driver to drive you from one place to the next. Usually when you’re travelling to foreign countries, you would notice that the locals try to loot you as they consider tourists to be rich.

Hence, just by following the tour guide and using government services as outlined in the guide, you would be able to enjoy your visit, whilst at the same time save cash.