Tourism, Bowen Island and other stuff that comes to mind

Bowen needs one of these….drastically!
May 24, 2008, 4:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

From the CTC Tourism Daily, May 24th, 2008

Boutique hotels: good for the good times?
May 22, 2008
Boutique hotels have been all the rage in the lodging industry. Developers want to build them. Guests want to stay in them. Travel writers want to wax on about their virtues.

But Robert Mandelbaum asks on if boutique hotels are popular with their owners? How has boutique hotel financial performance stacked up to industry-wide benchmarks as the lodging industry has progressed through the ups and downs of the recent business cycle?

To answer these questions, PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) has analyzed the revenues, expenses, and profits from a group of boutique hotels which provided their year-end financial statements to PKF-HR for the firm’s annual Trends in the Hotel Industry survey. The sample consisted solely of properties that provided data for each year from 2000 to 2006 (most current data available).

While boutique revenues have exceeded industry averages, so have operating expenses. From 2000 through 2006, total expenses have run approximately 55% greater at boutique hotels than the typical US hotel when measured on a dollar-per-available-room basis. Fortunately, the boutique sample achieved unit-level profits that averaged 57% greater than the total Trends sample.

In general, boutique hotels achieved superior gains in revenue and profits during periods of prosperity, but also suffered to a greater degree during the depths of the 2001 through 2003 industry recession.

From 2000 to 2003, US hotels averaged a decline in total revenue of 15.1%, while profits fell off 36.2%. Unfortunately for boutique hotel owners and operators, the declines in performance were much worse. During the industry recession, the typical boutique property in the Trends sample suffered declines of 25.0 % in total revenue and 52.9% in profits.

Conversely, from 2004 through 2006 boutique hotels enjoyed a quicker pace of recovery than the industry at large. During this period boutique properties saw their revenues grow 36.6%, while profits increased a very healthy 75.5%. The recovery for the typical US hotel was more gradual. Industry-wide growth averaged 26.7% for revenues and 45.8 % for profits.

The volatile performance of this lodging segment can be partially attributable to the urban location of most boutique hotels. In general, urban areas, especially the major gateway cities suffered the most during the 2001 to 2003 industry recession. Fortunately, these same cities have recovered strongly since then.

The “first generation” of boutique hotels had some common development characteristics, writes Mandelbaum. They were frequently constructed within the shell of a historic building and located just a few blocks off the prime heart of the central business district. By receiving historic structure and urban re-development tax credits, these boutique properties were able keep their overall development costs in-line, and devote a large portion of their development budgets to interior design. This moderation in development cost, along with superior market performance, combined to provide a favorable impact on the return on investment.

In recent years, most boutique hotels have been built from the ground up and don’t possess the antique charm historically associated with boutique properties. Instead, they thrive on the desire to be hip, modern, trendy, and full of the latest technological and entertainment amenities. In turn, development costs have escalated, but justified by the strong historical financial performance of this sector.

Given the historical elastic performance of the boutique hotel segment, Mandelbaum notes, it will be interesting to see how these unique properties perform when industry performance is basically flat. PKF-HR believes boutique hotels will continue to enjoy the strong performance premiums they’ve historically achieved, but without the wild cyclical oscillations seen in the past.

Author: TOURISM staff
Organization: Canadian Tourism Commission


Facebook and MySpace take over "down under" marketing!
May 12, 2008, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

WOW….this is a huge departure from regular Tourism Marketing, and for a destination like Australia to do this shows a major vote of confidence in ‘social networking’.  What’s next?

MySpace to change face of Aussie tourism
May 9, 2008
Jessica Hurt writes in Australia’s The Advertiser in Adelaide, that the days of television advertising as the main tool for attracting tourists to the land down under are long gone. Before setting off on a big adventure, many travellers are now likely to book their trips online, check out reviews from other holidaymakers, scroll through accommodation and travel sites and then keeping friends up to date with their trip through social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

And now the impact of these sites is about to be put to the test, Hurt argues. From this week onwards, the world’s largest social networking site, MySpace, will be used to lure the lucrative youth market to Australia, from countries including Britain and the US.

Tourism Australia announced the campaign at a market briefing with local tourism operators in Adelaide recently. Targeting the all-important 18 to 30-year-old market, the interactive campaign will aim to stimulate travel to Australia as well as promote Australia’s working holiday visa program run in Britain, the US, Canada and Ireland.

People in these countries will be able to designate Australia as a category on their web page and upload their own photographs from their Australian holiday to share with other users. The campaign will run over 12 months and is being launched in Ireland and Britain this week and rolled out to the remaining markets early in May.

Tourism Australia managing director Geoff Buckley believes the way to reach the youth market is to “talk to them in their own language, and through the media they prefer; online communities like MySpace provide an authentic environment for young travellers to share their own stories,” he says.

As well as a new mode of communication, we could soon see a new tourism branding for Australia. Not since Paul Hogan put a shrimp on a barbie in the famous ’80s tourism ads has Auatralia managed to brand itself so well, writes Hurt. In March, 2005, a bikini-clad model named Lara Bingle helped launch the controversial “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign.

Tenders are out for Tourism Australia’s global creative and media buying agencies. The results are expected to be known by August. The future of the “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign is expected to be decided around that time.

The new MySpace page will harness social networking by including interactive elements such as a “widget” that users can drop and drag their “top friends” into. Friends of the profile will be able to upload their own photos and video content to the site, as well as being able to upload features from the Tourism Australia page on their own MySpace profiles.

According to Nielsen Online, nearly half the Australian population has social networking profiles and, in the next 12 months, half of the non-users indicated they would be signing up. Tourism Australia’s general manager of trade development, Matt Cameron-Smith, noted social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube, could be valuable tools for marketing Australia as a tourism destination.

Author: TOURISM staff
Organization: Canadian Tourism Commission