Fears of “Trump slump” come true

The numbers:

  1. Through March 2017, total overseas travel to the U.S. has declined by 7.8 percent compared to 2016 (excludes Canada and Mexico)
  2. In 4 out of the first 7 months of 2017, international visitation contracted.
  3. Total international travel has dropped 4.2 percent (includes Canada and Mexico)
  4. US Travel Association forecasts Domestic travel to be up 1.6 percent through January
  5. Total travel volume in the U.S. is expected to grow at a rate of 1.2 percent.

Source: https://skift.com/2017/09/06/trump-slump-fears-are-realized-as-revised-findings-show-tourism-drop/

What does this mean for U.S. hostels?

The strong U.S. dollar and the unwelcoming message coming from the White House means that U.S. hostels need to increase their efforts to educate Americans on the benefits of hosteling. Hostels  may be tempted to focus efforts of foreign travelers who are already familiar with the concept of hosteling, but given that this market segment may continue to stagnate, we should look for growth opportunities from the domestic traveler market.

Some hostels also avoid serving Americans given the fear that many of them could be troublesome guests who are simply seeking cheap accommodation, who will detract from the traveler atmosphere and create problems for hostel staff. Managers should ensure that any policies that are intended to discourage anti-social behavior are carefully implemented without repelling legitimate American domestic travelers.

Questions to consider

  1. How does the blend of domestic-international travelers in your hostel compare to the blend in your local market?
  2. How is your hostel marketing to Americans?
  3. How do your check-in policies affect domestic travelers?

About the Author Byron Bunda

Byron has worked with hostels big and small, city and rural. His first job was as a receptionist in San Francisco and his favorite was leading the events for a 500-bed hostel in Sydney. Besides all things hostel related, he enjoys motorcycle riding, especially because it's the perfect way to get from hostel to hostel!

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