By Denise Mattia
To keep up with the travel industry, Tripwich covered the Association of Travel Marketing Executives conference held at the New York Times building on January 21, 2015, followed by the travel industry conferences held during The New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York on January 23, 2015.
Travel industry leaders and analysts provided insights on important industry changes happening today. At the conferences, men and women shared their expertise in the future of airlines, hotel trends, tours, communications and booking methods and the use of mobile devices in a changing industry.
In the airline industry the cost of jet fuel dropped 45% in one year, however, to make up for investment losses in previous years, lower fuel prices won’t result lower rate fares. Since there are 4100 fewer flights than four years ago, empty seats are no longer available.
Delta was the exception, reporting profitable earnings. They’ll keep their older 747s as will the major airlines (AA, United, Southwest) and they’ll cram more seats into Economy class flights.
According to hotel analysts this is the best time to be a hotelier. New construction is complementing renovations. More rooms are sold this year than ever before. Ninety-five percent of hoteliers are confident they’ll see a revenue increase. There’s a new demand for hotel rooms because today people regard travel as their right. Digital natives (the millennials born from 1980 to 1999) interact and interpret marketing differently – they respond to videos vs. stories, and they’re the fastest growing group. Although currently they have negative earnings (many live at home), they’ll be the future buyers. Hoteliers should be mindful of the changing market and the changing technology. As more people travel, hoteliers have to be more interactive. They should personalize hotel stays and build partnerships with their customers by sending guests offers that appeal to them. They have to figure out what makes them special.
In the tour sector, making sense of what’s new and how to scale business was a topic of discussion. Repeat business is best, however, competition makes it hard to build business. Technology is a worry – because the market is always changing. What’s important is the last click on a web page and how to deal with online attribution. It’s important to retool, redesign or refresh a web site in order to maximize SEOs. It’s also important to create the content in the site that’s relevant to the consumer. Suggestions included using WordPress, which makes refreshing the operator’s site easier and getting up on Tumbler by building a blog –both necessary to have a presence in all places. Email platforms also trigger messaging based on searches.
For travel writers and photographers, social media was the buzz word, thanks to Sree Sreenivasan during the SATW conference. He recommended working on a recognizable photograph, changing it at least once a year, and also optimizing a biography. Twitter is no longer restricted to 140 characters and writers and photographers can post four photos. It’s necessary to ask if your site is helpful, useful, timely, informative, relevant, practical, actionable, reliable, entertaining and fun.
Other conferences held during the show were Global Travel Tips for Women, Cruises, Island Hopping and the new travel destinations, which include Viet Nam, Miramar, Cuba, Croatia, Iceland, India, Peru, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Panama.
Shortly after 2 pm, the New York Times Show opened to the crowds of trade and journalists, eager to learn, purchase and network among the exhibitors.
About Denise Mattia
A writer and photographer, Denise Mattia’s works are published nationally and internationally and include all aspects of leisure travel: art , culture, resorts, spas, food and wine and sports’ activities. She's the founder of the soon to be launched Yum-Yum-Traveler, a site devoted to reviewing restaurants in addition to her travel articles from around the world. She lives and works in Manhattan, where she was born.