As you know from reading the Publisher’s Note in the last issue, Allen Rolleri and his family recently did a weekend getaway to Lancaster, PA, and he came back to report that he’s hopeful about the spirit of travel still being alive and well, despite the challenges of doing it right now. His account resonated with readers—and we’re sharing a couple of letters we received with you in our Inbox on page 8.
So, his recent jaunt inspired me to do the same to another drive-to destination: Lyme, CT, and the surrounding towns (Essex, Chester, Stonington, Mystic). Let me tell you, if you haven’t been to this area of our country, put it on your list. The history, beauty, nature and charm built into, and maintained, in these towns won’t disappoint.
We jumped into the car on a Saturday morning and came back Sunday night. No need to even take a cross-Sound ferry this time. Traffic was light and easy. And that’s something for the New-York tri-state area. I had a free night at one of the major-branded hotels, so we used it. But let me tell you: The one we actually stayed in was third on my list (because of proximity to places we were going) because the first two were sold out. 100% occupancy. While I was disappointed we couldn’t stay at either of those two, it actually made my heart happy. People are traveling. They are staying at hotels. The urge to get away—even if it’s just a road trip—is still strong. And that’s good news.
But is this true only—or, perhaps, more accurately, more so—for leisure travel? What about business travel? Conferences? Trade shows? We’ve been pondering those questions. I’m sure you have, too. With all of the events that have been canceled, postponed, rescheduled and canceled once more, are we ever getting on a plane, staying at a conference hotel and getting together again? The answer, I know, is yes. But, I guess the question is when?
Are we ready to get together in large groups? Ready to convene with colleagues? Or, right now, are we content staying at home and conducting business via our laptops and smartphones?
Hotel Business conducted an online survey, and more than 850 hotel industry professionals gave us their thoughts about traveling to conferences and trade shows. Check out some of the results on pages 10-11, as well as insight from industry leaders about the findings. There weren’t too many surprises—but some of the results are, well, sobering. One thing is for sure, though: While we’re not together in person, in a room or in a meeting right now—or possibly for the near-term future—we are, for sure, together in spirit. And it’s that spirit that will help us weather this pandemic storm and, ultimately, bring us together.