OCT 2016

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 7 On Sept. 20, Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that their merger transaction had received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the last regulatory approval required to complete the merger. Upon closing on the merger on Sept. 23, Marriott solidified its status as the world's largest hotel company. Marriott International, Inc., a global lodging company based in Bethesda, Md., has more than 4,500 properties in 88 countries and terri- tories, and reported revenues of more than $14 billion in fiscal year 2015. The company oper- ates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 19 brands, including: The Ritz-Carlton ® , Bulgari ® , EDITION ® , JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance ® Hotels, Marriott Hotels ® , Delta Hotels and Resorts ® , Marriott Executive Apartments ® , Marriott Vacation Club ® , Gaylord Hotels ® , AC Hotels by Marriott ® , Courtyard ® , Residence Inn ® , SpringHill Suites ® , Fairfield Inn & Suites ® , TownePlace Suites ® , Protea Hotels by Marriott ® and Moxy Hotels ® . Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has more than 1,300 properties in some 100 countries and approximately 188,000 em- ployees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences under the brands: St. Regis ® , The Luxury Collection ® , W ® , Westin ® , Le Méridien ® , Sheraton ® ,Tribute Portfolio ™ , Four Points ® by Sheraton, Aloft ® , Element ® , along with an expanded partnership with Design Hotels ™ . n headlines, trends & ideas Millennials Expect To Travel More In Next Five Years, Outpacing Baby Boomers Marriott & Starwood Merge Millennials are more optimistic than Baby Boomers and plan to travel more frequently in the next five years and spend more on travel than Boomers in the same timeframe, according to data recently released from The American Express Future of Travel and the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. According to the data, 52.8 percent of Millennials said they plan to increase their travel, as compared to 32.1 percent of Baby Boomers, and 58 percent of Millennials said they plan to spend more money on travel, as compared to 41.3 percent of Baby Boomers. One thing that Millennials and Baby Boomers have in common, according to the survey data, is an appreciation of high-touch, human interactions, with 89 percent of Millennials reporting that the value of personal service cannot be replaced. "One thing is clear; people, regardless of their age and the cost of travel, place a high value on personalized service in their travel experience," said Claire Bennett, executive vice president, American Express Travel, while speaking at the first American Express Travel Salon, a series of conversations the company is hosting that are relevant to the travel industry. Among the topics addressed at the Salon were some of the commonly-held beliefs about Millen- nial behavior that are not proving to be accurate. For example, it is widely believed that Millennials will not use a travel agent. However, according to the data collected, Millennials give travel agents an "A," with 92.4 percent of those who have used a travel agent in the past five years reporting it enhanced their travel experience. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of Millennials agree they would pay more for an agent's expertise. "Led by Millen- nials, travelers are beginning to articulate a vision of high-touch and high-tech service and the indus- try is watching," Bennett said. Another assumption—that Millennials have different travel needs than their parents—was also disproved. According to American Express Travel, 76.3 percent of Millennials say they pre- fer to stay in a traditional hotel, nearly equal to the number of Boomers who indicated the same preference. Additionally, an equal number of both groups (46 percent) said that enhanced in-room technology is the most appealing hotel trend. n Keeping A Cool Head Summer may be over, but there's still a need to keep cool when participating in outdoor activities, especially in Southern destinations. To help combat the heat and potential damage from the sun, CoolHeads has developed a headwear product made with absorbent terry cloth and fitted with an inner band system that is comfortable and provides total protection from the sun. Founded in 2010, CoolHeads also carries other outdoor-wear products, such as unisex flip flops, drawstring back- packs, snapback caps and t-shirts. For more information on CoolHeads, please visit n 92.4% of millennials reported the use of a travel agency enhanced their experience. 73.6% of millennials say they prefer to stay in a traditional hotel.

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