Edited Press Release
LeisureLink, Inc., the provider of distribution and revenue management platforms for specialty lodging suppliers, today announced the first publication of the LeisureLink Demand Index, showing dramatic growth in consumer demand for Vacation Lodging in mainstream online travel channels.
“Consumer demand in online channels has tripled over the last 2 years,” said Steve Reich, Senior Vice president of LeisureLink. “Consumer acceptance of Vacation Lodging is growing rapidly, even with difficult economic conditions,” he added. “This is a classic case of the ‘network effect’— a hot product creates demand, demand creates distribution, and broad distribution creates more demand,” said Reich. Vacation Lodging includes Vacation Rental Properties, Timeshare Resorts, and Boutique Hotels. “The growth in Vacation Lodging is in sharp contrast to the 7% decline in leisure and unmanaged business travel in 2009 recently estimated by research firm PhoCus Wright,” he continued.
“The Vacation Lodging category is growing because it offers a tremendous value proposition—a low cost per person, unique lodging options, and a chance to gather with friends and family in an intimate setting,” Reich added.
The LeisureLink Demand Index™ measures query volume across its Major Market Access (MMA) platform. The MMA provides distribution on major travel sites such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, GDS Marketplaces, and LeisureLink’s own ABetterStay.com marketplace. The queries on this network measure demand for Vacation Lodging directly from consumers, as well as from wholesale and travel agent channels. Taken as a whole, the index broadly measures total consumer demand for Vacation Lodging.
LeisureLink Demand Index
The LeisureLink Demand Index™ shows that overall Vacation Lodging demand grew more than 200% in the two years February 2008-10. The impact of the current recession is obvious — demand fell sharply in the first quarter of 2009, even though the 2008 experience suggests that the Ski and Spring Break seasons should have propelled demand higher. Demand fell even more sharply in April 2009, when the Swine Flu epidemic was raging, and violence in Mexico reduced cross-border travel.
“The resumption of growth in consumer demand in the latter half of 2009 and early 2010 validates that Vacation Lodging is the right product for more frugal times. Consumers still want to vacation with their family and friends, but want to hold down their expenditures,” Reich explained.
The LeisureLink Demand Index™ is derived from the more than 500 million consumer queries processed annually by LeisureLink. The Index includes properties in North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. LeisureLink clients include vacation rentals, timeshare resorts, boutique hotels, and their properties encompass ski, beach, and other locations.
Growth in the index has come from three key sources. More consumers are searching for Vacation Lodging, increasing the overall Index. New distribution partners have also joined the LeisureLink Marketplace seeking to tap this demand, bringing more consumer queries for existing properties. Lastly, new properties added to the system attract additional queries for that specific property. Taken as a whole, queries across the system represent a broad measure of consumer demand.
“We also see increasing competition among properties for consumers in these channels. Vacation Lodging providers have been very aggressive with their pricing and promotions through this difficult period, and many have reduced their required minimum length of stay. Properties that focus on being competitive in their market are getting the lion’s share of the bookings in mainstream online channels,” said Reich.