The Grand Summit Hotel, located at the base of Canyons Resort in Park City, hosted the 2011 Utah Tourism Conference on May 11-13, 2011. Powderbird had never attended the conference before, and I found many of the guest speakers to be extremely knowledgeable about the tourism industry, and the economic landscape in Utah and beyond. The food, accommodations, and customer service provided by Canyons was quite impressive. It was great to meet with some of the most accomplished individuals in regards to our state’s tourism agenda—members of the thriving ski industry and our summer travel counterparts.
I wanted to share a few of the conference’s major insights with our readers…
Every Contact Counts
The opening speaker’s (Linda Galindo) motto: “Every contact counts”. Living in the competitive environment we do today, you don’t get second chances to make a positive impression on a potential customer. I found this to be a very simple and resounding statement—and one that can relate to not only the tourism industry. Linda encouraged her audience to take 100% personable accountability for each customer’s experience, not to make excuses for unfavorable outcomes, to own one’s actions and decisions and create positive solutions when things go awry.
I loved the simple message and will encourage our employees at Powderbird to incorporate her behavioral advice into our operation. If you want to know more about Linda and her method of accountability education, follow the link to her web site.
Changing Media Environment
According to the Utah Office of Tourism and their Public Relations team, there is currently a pent-up demand for travel and travel related products. Consumers are fatigued from the recession, and although they have learned to be more responsible with spending, they are ready to spend on discretionary items once again, such as a family vacation. Do you agree?
The UOT also argued that consumers are using social media and smart phones as a planning tool. In fact social media has doubled in popularity as a vacation planning tool since last year. As a consumer, do you use your smart phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to help plan your family or group trips?
National Travel Statistics
A speaker from the U.S. Travel Association provided previously unreleased information about the 2011 economic outlook. The good news: 2011 outlook is better than the last few years. This is a sign that our economy is bouncing back, and hopefully we can sustain these recent changes. Here are some key indicators:
- Leisure travel intentions are up
- Domestic leisure visits are up, and will continue to grow
- Consumer Confidence is on the rise
- Overall Traveler Sentiment up in early 2011 but still bumpy road to sustained improvement
- Hotel demand is up
- “Interest in travel” is down slightly this month, but expected to rise
- Same with “perceived money available for travel”
There is no single indicator that will inform us when the U.S. economy is healthy. It’s a very complex issue, and even with endless research and tracking of economic indicators, it can still seem confusing.
What I took away from this conference is that tourism is healthy, especially in Utah, and it appears that consumer confidence, overall leisure travel and spending are on the rise. Tourism is also a very competitive industry, since people are no longer so carefree about spending. We need to work hard to win over every single customer, and provide them with a fantastic and unparalleled experience—a challenge Powderbird looks forward to in the coming years.