Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Early Summer Performance Identifies Opportunities and Trends

With summer behind us, we turn our attention to reviewing this past year's leisure market performance. While the North American economy still has a long way to go to a full recovery, we are seeing positive signs of growth - and shifts - in the local tourism economy.

Hotel performance to the end of June points to a strong recovery for the city in both leisure and corporate travel. June occupancy rates in the city were 79.7%, up a whopping 12.4% over the previous June. RevPar rose 22.3% to $78.21 per room. For the year to date ending June 30th, overall annual occupancy rose 4.4% to 66.4% and RevPar rose 8% to 63.86. The national YTD average occupancy rate was 57.3%. (sourced from PKF Consulting Inc. We encourage our tourism partners seeking more detailed occupancy performance data to contact PKF directly at http://www.pkfcanada.com for their range of consulting products and services)

We're still a ways from a full recovery in the North American corporate travel markets as organizations continue to send fewer delegates to meetings but we seem to have seen an increase in the number of meetings held in the city this year, albeit with fewer participants per meeting.

Despite some 2009 and first quarter 2010 stability in the US markets, we seem to have struggled a little in May and June, with decreases to the end of June in the 12% range. these are the latest numbers we have on U.S. residents crossing into Canada and we are certainly waiting to see the July and August stats before fully evaluating and commenting on the US travel market. However, given what we've seen from the travel centres and the hotel performance, we are observing a shift in travel motivators from our U.S. guests. While the traditional angling market has fallen off (with demographics aligning with some of the hardest hit economic regions) a growth in the touring market, primarily motorcycle and RV, has offset some of that decline. The lesson here is simply this, we cannot discount the US travel markets but rather start marketing to emerging markets using new tools.

Attractions performance also seems to have stabilized with modest increases reported by some attractions partners. Overall, however, we're not hearing anyone in the city cry that the sky is falling, but rather hearing some positive trends and optimistic outlooks to future performance. One thing is certain and that is that we all, as an industry, have to keep moving forward constructively, positively and productively to take advantage of the changes in the consumer travel motivators so as to keep this upswing going.

With performance data for July and August still outstanding, we'll be preparing a seasonal wrap up sometime in the coming months to coinside with the development of our 2011-2013 strategy.

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