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Hotels optimistic about future but still not hiring

Knowland Survey finds majority of hoteliers experienced growth in 2010, expect more in 2011

The Knowland Group, a leading provider of business development solutions for the hospitality industry, recently conducted a survey of hoteliers on how the hospitality industry fared in 2010 and what 2011 will bring. The survey found that most hoteliers are optimistic about the future of the hospitality industry, with 88 percent predicting growth in their group business in 2011. The news is not as good for those looking for work, however, as only 4 percent of hotels plan on adding to their sales team in 2011.

A large majority of hoteliers surveyed, 75 percent, said that 2010 had been a better year for group business than 2009. Some experienced high levels of growth while others more modest. 19 percent saw less than a 5 percent increase compared to 2009, 43 percent experienced 5 to 10 percent growth, 31 percent had 10 to 25 percent growth, and 7 percent saw business go up over 25 percent.

"The hospitality industry is finally starting to improve after several difficult years," said Knowland CEO Michael K. McKean. "Hotels must use professional business development to build upon this momentum and have an even more successful 2011."

The hoteliers surveyed from across the United States were also asked what they thought was the hottest trend of 2010 in the hospitality industry. Becoming a social media star was the number one choice at 31 percent. Close behind was upping the ante on customer rewards, at 29 percent, and going green, at 27 percent.

This Knowland survey was conducted over a two-day period from December 16-17, 2010. The full survey results can be found below.

1. Has 2010 been a better year for group business at your hotel than 2009?

a) Yes – 75%
b) No – 25%

If so, how much would you estimate your group business has gone up compared to 2009?

a) over 25% – 7%
b) 10 to 25% – 31%
c) 5 to 9% – 43%
d) 0 to 4% – 19%

2. What do you think was the hottest trend of 2010 in the hospitality industry?

a) Upping the ante on customer rewards – 29%
b) Going green – 27%
c) Battling bed bugs – 3%
d) Becoming a social media star 31%
e) Bringing famous restaurant chains into the hotel – 0%
f) Other – 10%

3. Has your hotel changed ownership or management companies in 2010?

a) Yes 10%
b) No 90%

4. Do you see your group business growing in 2011?

a) Yes – 88%
b) No – 7%
c) Unsure – 5%

5. Do you plan on increasing your sales staff in 2011?

a) Yes – 4%
b) No, we already hired more people in 2010 – 7%
c) No, we are not planning on hiring anytime soon – 89%
d) Unsure – 0%