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February 2007

Time for a Smile

From a frequent inn-goer:

During my recent stay at an inn in a historic city, after a pretty busy day, I was just dozing off a bit after midnight when my brain told me that I was hearing something in the hallway. I just tuned it out thinking it was someone inconsiderately talking to someone else loud enough for me to hear it through my door.

Then I began to realize that it was continuing and a person -- you could tell it was a man with a low -toned voice in the hallway, and he was saying something like "hello, hello - Joanne, hello." I finally got up and went to the peep hole in my door. I looked through the hole and could make out someone in the hallway going up to each door saying "Joanne, hello."

When he came up to my door, I jumped back, hoping he could not see me peeping at him! I phoned the desk and asked them to send up security as there was a man in the hallway who seemed disoriented. Imagine my shock when I went back to the peep hole (it was better than HBO) to view him from the back and found him to be quite naked! Or, if he had anything on, it was hidden in his rather large stomach.

The security guard arrived and asked him what he was doing and what his name was. He said he was with his "girlfriend" and that his name was Mr. Smith. According to "Mr. Smith," his girlfriend had pushed him into the hallway and closed the door. Now he couldn't remember which room was theirs! So, he was going up to all the doors.

After awhile the police arrived and took him away. As they were walking down the hallway, I heard one of the policemen mutter, "...and he didn't even get any of those little soaps." I was howling...If this was a one night stand for Mr. Smith, I imagine it proved to be quite an expensive one!

INNside Scoop: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bed and Breakfast Inns, by veteran B&B travel writer Maxine Pinson, is the only book of its kind -- written for inngoers as well as innkeepers/aspiring innkeepers. In addition to helpful articles for innkeepers, the book provides invaluable information (primarily in a Q/A format) for guests who are not quite sure what to expect when they first begin staying at B&Bs. INNside Scoop is being offered to innkeepers at a reduced rate of six copies for $36 or 12 copies for $59.43 (plus S&H). Inns in more than 18 states now have INNside Scoop in their guest rooms and/or gift shops. Click here for more information about this unique book; charge orders may be placed by calling 800-871-8977. The introduction to the book was written by Sandy Soule, editor of and endorsed by Jerry Phillips, former executive director of PAII.


Travel Trends

Hotels fastest growing segment online: "According to a new report from PhoCusWright Inc., in 2007, for the first time transactions on the Internet will account for over half (54%) of all U.S. travel bookings. Suppliers (e.g., airlines, hotels and car rental agencies) have been outperforming online travel agencies (e.g., Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline) since 2000, but growth rates for the two channels will converge by 2008." Other insights from PhoCusWright’s U.S. Online Travel Overview include:

  • Hotels will be the fastest growing segment online, surpassing air travel, which until 2006 had long been the fastest growing product segment.
  • While the U.S. represented just one third of total online and offline travel bookings of the combined North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific markets in 2005, the U.S. share of online bookings was over 60% of all online bookings.
  • The tipping point of the travel market, with the online channel becoming the norm for travel purchases, is going to further shape consumer behavior that utilizes Travel 2.0 tools and applications.

Gift card purchases beat estimates: Reuters reports that gift cards were more popular than expected this past holiday season, as shoppers in search of quick and easy gifts snapped up $27.8 billion of the cards in November and December, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That figure outpaced the $24.8 billion in spending on gift cards that the trade group had initially estimated. Almost 51% of shoppers who had redeemed holiday gift cards said they spent additional money beyond the value of the cards.

Luxury hotels and signature fragrances:
Many luxury properties, and now hotel chains, have embraced signature fragrances. “At Omni Hotels, hidden machines spray a lemongrass–green-tea scent into the lobby and a coconut fragrance, for a tropical effect, around the pool; this year the hotel group plans to offer scents in its meeting spaces—citrus for energy, supposedly; lavender and sandalwood to reduce stress. Westin Hotels & Resorts is debuting a signature White Tea aroma in 127 lobbies around the world.”
It’s OK to make a rich breakfast: “Although 60% of adults they'd like to lose 20 pounds, dieting in America is at an all-time low, according to The NPD Group's ‘Eating Patterns in America’ report. On the list of Top 10 diets, Weight Watchers is No. 3, after "My own diet" and "A doctor-recommended diet." NPD found that the percentage of adults on a diet is at its lowest level since 1990, when 35% of women and 26% of men were dieting. Last year, those levels dropped to 26% of women and 19% of men.”

That same survey reveals trends and statistics regarding breakfast:

  • “More than half of breakfast meals consist of just one or two items. Even weekend breakfasts don't amount to much. We don't see a marked difference between weekdays and weekends. And over time, the number of items included in breakfast meals has fallen, from 2.46 in 1985 to 2.17 today.”
  • “Consumers viewed only 38% of their breakfast meals as a 'full or complete meal'; 45% of the time breakfast was viewed as a 'small or mini meal'; 5% of the time they described breakfast as more of a 'snack,' and 11% of the time it was a beverage-only situation.”

The products consumed most frequently for breakfast at home:

  • Coffee and cold cereal, chosen 32% of the time.
  • Fruit juice: 26%
  • Milk: 16%
  • Bread: 15%
  • Fruit: 13%
  • Eggs: 12%
  • Hot cereal: 9%
  • Bacon: 4%
  • Hot tea: 4% predicts baby boomer travel boom: “The leisure travel industry is about to boom thanks to the Baby Boomers coming of age and having more free time and the desire to travel, according to Lauraday Kelley, VP Education & Training for”

Germans spend the most on travel: “Germans retained their position as the world leaders in expenditure on foreign travel last year. Germans spent a total of 60.5 billion euros on business and leisure trips in 2006, according to Dresdner Bank’s annual report on the tourism sector. That is 11% of worldwide expenditure on foreign travel.”

Rising costs affect business travelers most: “With the price increases imposed on air, hotel, and car rentals, American Express estimates that the average domestic business trip will cost $46 more this year and the average international trip will increase by $180.”

17 million British people to book 2007 trips online: The 2007 Holiday Online Planning Report by market research company Continental Research shows that at least 17 million people in the U.K. are forecast to book part of their main 2007 holiday via the internet. New research shows that 13 million will go also online to purchase part of a short break. More than three quarters (78%/21 million) will seek information about their main holiday online, with 59% (16 million) using the internet to source information about short breaks.

MSN predicts travel trends for 2007:

  • In a recent industry survey, Beijing tied with Venice on the list of top vacation destinations. Americans are starting to consider travel to other previously "taboo" destinations such as Vietnam, where the dollar is strong and Americans find they are extremely welcome.
  • Baby boomers will be logging fewer office hours and taking longer vacations.

MSN predicts the following will popular:

  • Spas and all-inclusive resorts
  • Cruises, especially Caribbean cruises and European cruises
  • Niche travel
  • Green travel
  • Connoisseur travel

A recent consumer survey conducted by Harris Interactive® reveals a few key travel trends:

  • All signs point to this spring break season being as busy as last year, continuing the pattern of the recent peak winter holiday season.
  • 16% of U.S. adults plan to travel by air more this spring than they did last spring, and 66% plan to travel by air as much as they did last spring.
  • Airlines continue to raise fares despite declining fuel prices.
  • Unseasonably warm temperatures in parts of the U.S. earlier this winter could mean deeper discounts in warm weather destinations like Florida and the Caribbean.
  • Warmer than average weather could also bolster more interest in skiing and big-city trips. This season is on track to break the record of 59 million skier visits in a season, set just last year, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
  • Recent changes in passport requirements do not appear to be dampening interest in overseas trips. The survey found that 74% of U.S. adults say that they are equally (68%) or more likely (6%) to travel to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America or the Caribbean, the areas recently affected by the new passport rules.

Seniors and Internet usage: “There are 11.5 million seniors (defined as those 65 or older) who regularly access the Internet. Jupiter expects that number to double by 2010. Only a third of the senior population is regularly online today, but in 2010, online seniors will represent half of the total senior population. That makes seniors the fastest growing segment online. They are great potential customers:

  • They’re educated and affluent. The have more disposable income and are more likely to have a college degree. They are also more likely to be married or living with a partner.
  • They’re not sitting around the house. Seniors who are online are more likely to have a job, which means they are more likely to be exposed to technology at work and to have a network of younger colleagues to guide them. And all that disposable income means that they travel for leisure more than any other segment – an average of 3.0 trips a year, versus 2.2 trips for those under 65.
  • They’re not all watching 60 Minutes. Seniors use email, send e-greetings, and share photos at nearly the same rates as the general online population.”

This Month's Sponsor

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