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Posted by Henry Harteveldt on July 31, 2009
I am a fan of Travel Weekly, a truly comprehensive travel industry publication. I've been reading Travel Weekly for the million or so years I've been in the travel industry and am sincerely impressed with how its editor, Arnie Weissman, continues to take the publication in new and exciting directions.
The July 30 issue of TravelWeekly.com has an article by Jeri Clausing regarding hotel industry performance for the first-half of 2009 from Smith Travel Research (STR), a leading hotel industry research firm. STR's data clarifies the enormous financial impact the recession is taking on hotels::
There's more, but it's pretty bleak. I don't want to lose you, so for all the gory details, read the Travel Weekly article and the STR announcement.
Anyway, this got me thinking (always risky): How could eBusiness have helped? True, nothing could have protected hotels from the massive economic mess we're all in. I do, however, believe that hotels made their own challenges worse. How? As an industry, hotels failed to use eBusiness as effectively as they could have -- and should have.
So how could eBusiness have helped hotels? Here are just a few:
Against the loss of business from key segments like meetings/conventions and corporate travel, nothing could have totally insulated the industry from all the turmoil. But by failing to push themselves to do more with eBusiness, to invest when times were better, to re-think property operations against the increasingly "wired" guest that hotels serve, hotels may have allowed their financial troubles to be worse than they should have been.
If you're a hotel executive, or if you work for a company that supports hotels through technology, please weigh in. I'd enjoy hearing from you.
Thanks for your time.