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.

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.

Four Tips to Finding Cheap Hotels Worldwide

Most of us are always looking forward to getting very good hotel rates, both during business and holiday travels. The problem is, how do you actually get affordable accommodation without compromising on quality and comfort?

Travelers in every part of the globe – America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia – are in search of best hotel deals. Everybody wants to save on travel expenditure. This no wonder makes it a bit difficult to find the real budget hotel deal. And every hospitality facility claims to have the best offer. So how do you identify the real offers?

Here are four ideas on how to find cheap hotel deals and save great during your trips:

Local travel websites

Big travel websites like Hotels.com, Expedia, Agoda and likes, are what most travelers seek first when looking for best deals. Their vast details on hotels on almost part of the globe, is indeed very important on getting what you want.

But what most people forget is that local travel websites are most likely to have more budget hotels that these big travel sites. Searching for popular travel sites in your destination is something that may save you great deal of cash.

Unlike the global travel giant sites, local ones provide details of even the very budget end hotels. There, you are more likely to find very affordable rooms and yet very decent for your vacation/business trip..

Start early

If you really need to find a good deal, then you have to starting looking for one early enough. This allows time to find variety of accommodation facilities, be it hotels, bed and breakfast or even apartments. You then compare their offers, and their services and facilities and then choose the one that well fits you.

In case you have very urgent trip; then it may be advisable to find last minutes travel sites and see their offers. But the earlier you plan your travel the better.

Negotiate Discounts

Going to stay for long in hotel or traveling in groups? If yes, then it’s more likely if you ask for a discount, you will be offered one. But be sure to ask for it before making reservations. Some hotels also do offer special offers for particular people. For instance, some Nairobi hotels have lower rates for UN staff. If you work with some of big humanitarian organizations, ask if the hotel have special rates for staff.

Timing

Where possible, you should properly plan for the period you intend to travel, bearing in mind peak seasons. If you are traveling on weekends, it might be good idea to stay for business hotel, where rates are likely to be lower than in vacation resorts. Similarly, you can stay in holiday lodges during business days, and save on room budget.

Planning to take vacation in low tourists’ season might save your money, besides making your trip hassle free. For instance, Mombasa Hotels in Kenya do double or even triple their room rates during the peak seasons. And the sheer number of visitors looking for hotels makes it even hard to find hotel, when planning for last minutes trips.