The Year That Was – Hotel and Travel Industry in 2009

The year 2009 was a year of ups and downs for hotels in particular and the global travel industry in general. There were many events and developments that helped shape the outlook of the hotel industry over the past 12 months. Let us take a look back at 2009 and identify these developments.

Who can forget the global H1N1 virus scare that rocked the world? Some surveys suggest that many travelers will be more concerned about germs and health-related issues in general, thanks to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. This has thankfully led to more stringent measures and health awareness on the part of the establishments.

The global recession was clearly still in effect the whole year round, and there will even be some repercussions heading into 2010. There are still some significant properties and establishments being shopped and sold. However, it should be noted that, while some companies have been selling their hotels, there are those that are utilizing the sale to expand their core properties. That is a positive sign, showing growth and a willingness to expand despite the continued pinch given by the recession.

In 2009, eco-tourism and eco-friendly destinations started taking the spotlight, as both the travelers and the various establishments have become more and more environmentally conscious. Destinations such as Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland are the top dogs when it comes to eco-friendly places to visit. The hotels in such countries also benefit tremendously because of the influx of travelers, and a lot of them have already adopted an eco-friendly mentality to go with the times.

Of course, there are also many hotel groups-from smaller-scale local establishments to big chains of luxury hotels-who have re-evaluated their business approach and have made changes to their various investment strategies. This is a wise move, still in line with managing the costs and income in an economic landscape that still is not as stable as desired.

Another trend in 2009 was an increased patronage for online travel services, such as booking sites and aggregators that really are a big help to travelers. Still, traditional booking occupies a significant chunk of the pie, even with online services gaining some headway over the past year.

Some establishments, from hotels to apartments to luxury spas, have shown a diminishing level of performance in the middle of the year. The good thing is that some of them have been able to recover quite nicely and gain back some lost ground-and some lost ratings-to get back on track.

There are indications that leisure spending on the side of the travelers will go up in 2010, and that is a definite plus for the hotel industry. More people willing to spend more money translate to more business opportunities for hotels and other members of the hospitality industry.

All in all, it was another year and another step to recovery in 2009. Things are shaping up quite nicely for 2010, and hopefully, hotels and their respective managements learned a lot in the past year and start to apply them in order to flip the script this coming year.

Holidays and Travel – Why Are Singles Being Ripped Off?

Holidays and short breaks, hotels and travel are notorious for institutionalised acts of discrimination against the undeserving: Singles are often penalised for not having a partner. As if being a wallflower is not bad enough some hotels load the bill when singles check in at reception.

Before I check in I check out and here’s the rub. A London hotel for a two night package charges £235 per person. If you are travelling alone you need to add £90 more than the guy next door who brought ‘a friend’ along. The Royal Garden Hotel adds £100 to the single’s bill and is far from being alone. It is common practice.

Hotels respond to criticism by claiming they lose the charge on the partner’s bill. It makes sense then to book a hotel that charges by the room rather than by the person. Either that or bring along a friend. Hotels that charge extra for singles might be a little more ethical if the extra fee was levied only when the hotel is fully booked and they are turning couples away.

Pick a Partner

My cheeky suggestion that they put aside a reception area where singles can relax, chat up and choose someone to share their room with was not well received. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The same applies for those who fancy a sea cruise. My eyes lit up when I spotted a three-night Norwegian cruise for a paltry £99. Rubbing my hands in expectation, I looked forward to exploring the fjords by day and propping up the bars at night. It was then that the penny dropped; lots of them. The fare was based on two sharing a two-berth cabin.

As we move into the third millennium’s second decade one of the biggest spending consumer groups are the singles. In the holiday trade there are web-based tour operators whose modus operandi is to target the singles. This makes subsequent socialising legitimate: No one is going to be offended if Sally is chatted up or Jeanette flutters her eyelashes at Gareth as their single status can be presumed.

For singles this is far preferable to going on an ordinary package tour. Who wants to be Billy-no-mates in the restaurant or worse, fall in love with someone else’s spouse or partner? It rather spoils the holiday for everyone.

Exotic Locations

I scour the specialist tour operators’ websites who want singles to join them on trips to exotic locations, seductive surroundings; perfect settings for a holiday of which more than memories might last a lifetime. With considerable panache I conduct a search through the appropriately named worldwide web.

Whoa! Singles! Have Fun. Meet new Friends! Great Deals £895 for 7-nights skiing? Look at that price again! That is budget? Anyway who needs white snow when you can have white sandy beaches with palm trees? Grenada seems to tick all the right boxes for carefree philanders like me. Sure there are a few spa and gym temptations thrown in but £1,899 for seven nights? Maybe to compensate I will find someone rich and famous to chat with in the restaurant or bars: a premier division football player, a movie star, or top model? I am beginning to cotton on.

Are these solo holidays strategically located, imaginatively planned and priced to provide an opportunity for single ladies seeking a supra-rich boyfriend; maybe James Bond? After all, at £2,000 for a seven day break in the Bahamas one is unlikely to be rubbing shoulders with the crowd that frequent the local bistros and bars.

Gold Digging Vampires

This might then be the ideal opportunity for me to meet an upwardly mobile model, a gold-digging vamp, or a celebrity wannabe willing to invest a night in fame and fortune? However the thought of explaining across the breakfast table that my runabout is a fifteen year old shopping trolley and I am an under-resourced hack pours cold water on that scheme-dream. I have no wish to have a bowl of cornflakes emptied over my lap after a night of unbridled debauchery.

I discover a tour company specialising in singles holidays which seemed more reasonable. This one was going to set me back £235 for a week hamming up the bon vivant in Tenerife. Ever the restless traveller I moved on further to a rival company. I gulped: £500 plus for a week’s stay in Turkey did not strike me as competitive. That is until I checked out solo.com; they offer 4 nights in Salzburg for £829 or a 4-night winter break in Italy for £429.

Clearly singles are being charged double with bells on. It was as clear as Bahamian waters that holidays exclusively tailored for singles translates into high price vacations. Possibly the thinking behind it is that singles, most of them without dependents, have plenty of disposable income. The obvious solution was to find a partner as two travellers can obviously travel far cheaper than one. Is there anyone out there?

Discover Penang Malaysia – Hotels and Travel Tips

Penang Island should be in your itinerary when you visit South East Asia. You will discover Penang a truly fascinating destination for local delicacies, shopping, recreation, nightlife, and sightseeing. For whatever purpose of your visit, the island will never disappoint you or run short of activities to entertain you and your whole family for the days and the nights. Georgetown, the state capital of Penang, has the oldest municipal history in Malaysia, and it is included in the listing of the World Heritage site by Unesco.

The Island has some of the world’s most beautiful white sandy beaches. It is the country’s most visited island beach resort. It has a long stretch of beaches at the northern island shoreline, extending from Gurney Drive to Tanjung Bungah, to Batu Ferringhi and to Teluk Bahang. This is the ground for many luxury beach resorts, restaurants, water sport activities and shopping centers.

Malaysia is a multi racial country, and it was a British colony before year 1957. Therefore Penang is very rich in western and local cultures. You can taste a great variety of western and local cuisines prepared by the different ethnic groups. Penang is well known as a food paradise. It was rated by Time Magazine for having the best side stall food in Asia. The locals speak English fluently, and there is no barrier to communicate in the streets.

There is a wide range of hotels in Penang Malaysia. The hotels are scattered around the island, and the most popular locations are at the Gurney Drive, the Batu Ferringhi beach and in the heart of the downtown. The room price usually varies according to different time of year and the hotel’s location. The best way to get a special deal in Penang Malaysia is to compare hotels’ pricing at different travel sites. If you are staying at Batu Ferringhi beach, be sure to stay at a hotel that offers free shutter service to the city landmarks and to the famous shopping malls. It will take anyway between 35 to 60 minutes to travel from hotels in Batu Ferringhi to the popular shopping malls. Among the famous malls are The Queensbay Mall, The Gurney Plaza and The Komtar shopping complex.