A summer of cautious optimism

Best Western hosted its 2012 Leisure Travel Summit in Toronto this week, an event that taps into the pulse of what’s going on in the industry as it heads into the busy summer season. On hand for the 7th annual Summit, were moderator Bryson Forbes who mapped out the agenda for the event which saw panellists, Brenda Kyllo of CAA, Dorothy Dowling of Best Western and Tony Pollard of the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) provide a wide ranging discussion of such topics as the the outlook for leisure travel in 2012; the potential impact of rising gas prices; the role of loyalty programs in driving business; how social media is changing the way travel is distributed; plus plenty more. For Dowling, “summer is the money season” and already Best Western is seeing significant gains in both revenues and stays which has the global hotel company anticipating that business will be strong in the summer of 2012. For Pollard, the outlook was a little more reserved, with HAC’s boss telling his audience that association members are indicating that nationally things are sitting somewhere between “static” or “a little bit up” over the summer of 2011. However, he also noted that those results vary from region to region, with some parts of Canada performing better than others. As for CAA’s Brenda Kyllo, the fact that the past winter didn’t quite live up to the expectations of tours operators has her “cautiously optimistic” that pent-up consumer demand may be a driver for business this summer. Stay tuned, there will be more on Best Western’s 2012 Leisure Travel Summit in an upcoming issue of Canadian Travel Press.