Hotels rethink approach to leisure business in response to corporate cost-cutting

Tuesday 14, September 2010


Hotels rethink approach to leisure business in response to corporate cost-cutting


Leisure guests will become increasingly important for hotels in the post-recession years, according to a high-level think tank in London this week.


World Travel Market, the premier global event for the travel industry, invited a dozen hotel suppliers and operators from its Meridian Club, which has 24,000 of the travel and tourism industry’s most senior buyers, to the event. The guests – all of whom were at least regional director level - represented all aspects and geographies of the hotel sector.  It took place in the Directors’ Lounge at the Emirates Stadium, home to Arsenal Football Club.


In a wide-ranging discussion, which took place under Chatham House rules, one recurring observation was that hotels were looking more closely at leisure business in response to sea changes in the corporate travel environment.


Travel budgets for blue-chips and SMEs were slashed during the global slowdown, and the concern for hoteliers is that even if the world economy picks up, budgets will remain tight. A luxury hotelier said that many companies were now mandating that its travellers could not stay in five-star hotels, while a tour operator with a global reach said that his business was now using video conferencing as a matter of course and that this had now become “learned behaviour”.


A mid-market operator said that some of its properties in France were no longer taking bookings from the MICE sector because of the strong demand from US-based leisure travellers, while another mid-market operator said that it is benefitting from business travellers downgrading.


Responsibility for travel budget is increasingly the responsibility of the procurement department, which appears to be leading to tougher negotiations. “Corporations now want wi-fi access as part of the deal, and they are looking for free transfers, free phone calls and discounts on food and beverage which clearly affects our margins” one hotelier said. “It is possible that leisure travellers might now be more profitable than corporate guests.”


However, leisure guests are also demanding better value for money. A UK-based short break specialist said that customers were still willing to pay a good price for a break, but they wanted more for their money.


Other panellists pointed out that luxury hotels are now expected to offer all-inclusive rates to tour operators, as bigger spending leisure clients are starting to  see the appeal of all-inclusive breaks.


Themes such as emerging markets, foreign exchange rates and distribution were also covered in the ninety-minute minute.


“The idea behind the think tanks is to give senior executives the chance to talk openly with one another about their sector,” said Mark Jacobsen, Marketing Manager, Meridian Club. “We will take on board what was said and use it to make sure Word Travel Market, the premier global event for the travel industry, is able to service the needs of all players in the challenging and dynamic hotel sector.”



Bookmark and Share


^ back to top


Find the best deals available today

The grey menu on the right is your best friend. Always check before you travel.

Plan your trips with the help of great resources

More and more travellers think that researching and planning a European city break is half the fun and they're not interested in pre-arranged trips or escorted tours. Self-guided tours offer a lot of advantages but require some guidance and good resources.


Clean, green and very pristine

Top 10 most environmentally pure countries

With the recent wild fires, disrupting flights and increasing air pollution, environmental quality is a growing factor in attracting tourists.



Top 15 most spectacular hotel rooftop views

The hotel price comparison site has put together a list of the fifteen most spectacular hotel rooftop terraces in the world.

Latest offers, discounts and more...

Accor “3=2 offer”
Why not extend your stay? 3 nights for the price of 2.
Columbus Direct travel insurance
Quality cover at low prices to customers all around the world.
Priority pass
Access VIP lounges no matter where which airline and class you fly.
European City Cards
See more and pay less! Get your "passport" to European cities.
Rail Europe
Comfortable and affordable on European trains.
Lonely Planet Magazine
Packed with insider knowledge, hints and tips.
Sandemans New Europe City Tours
Free walking tours in 13 cities within 9 countries.
Sol Melia Wednesdays
Search your exclusive special offers now for the coming weekend!
Low-cost shuttle and private transfers in over 70 countries.
IMEX Frankfurt 25-27 May
The essential worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events.
Subscribe to Travelio News Summary via RSS Follow our news titles on Twitter Become a fan of on Facebook Bookmark and Share