Despite devastating losses in the weeks following Sept. 11,
several speakers noted how the travel industry has bounced back.
The recovery didn't just happen by itself -- industry leaders took
action to revive their segments:
Phillip Kleweno: The cruise industry and
P&O Princess have shown considerable resilience over the past
year. In each of the three quarters since Sept. 11, we've been able
to report a year-over-year increase in earnings, and all of our
ships are at full capacity.
We found the intersection of greed and fear. There were
promotional prices that were unprecedented. Yields were down
anywhere between 5% and 8% each quarter, but now prices have
returned to pre-9/11 levels.
We have the luxury of having a flexible asset base -- we can
redeploy our ships between different markets. Back in October, we
decided to take one-third of our capacity out of Europe and bring
it to North America. While it's difficult to fill up a sailing that
isn't published, we felt that was the right risk-management
strategy. This proved enormously valuable -- it allowed people to
go on a vacation without having to get on an airplane.
Adam Aron: We had an immediate falloff in
demand, just three-and-a-half months before Christmas. But in a
short 90 days, we revved up our sales and marketing activities and
stayed as diligent as ever in delivering a customer-pleasing
product, and our lift ticket revenue this last ski season ended up
being the best in our 40-year history. And our revenues were up all
ski season long, from Christmas to Easter.
If you look at the U.S. hotel industry, the upscale part of it,
right after Sept. 11, revenues were off about a third, year over
year, and if you look at the data through July, the upscale U.S.
hotel industry is off only about 5%. It's down, but it certainly
shows a recovery from 33%.
Sam Katz: I think it's pretty remarkable how
resilient people are, consumers are, Americans are -- really,
people around the world are. This resilience keeps us all in
business. It's a fascinating time to be in this industry because
it's like a new frontier, and we think that's going to lead to a
lot of activity -- partnerships and consolidations. And the effect
technology is having on business models makes for a very fluid
Michelle Peluso: I think ours is a good news
story. Travelocity just conducted a poll of 1,000 random homes.
More than 90% report that they are as likely to fly -- or more
likely to fly -- since Sept. 11, which to me is stunning. Online
sales are, I think, up 38%, partially because of the price wars,
but partially, I think, because of the service.
Katerina Pavlitova: After 9/11, we were all in
a very delicate situation because, to start a marketing campaign
that's sensitive enough and respectful enough of people's feelings,
it's not easy to do. However, there was one country that just
grabbed this opportunity and ran with it, and that was Great
Britain. And they have their prime minister to thank for that. It
was the political response of Great Britain, which was swift and
strong, and the British Tourist Authority rode on the tails of this
and did an amazing job of bringing a lot of Americans to Britain
that fall, when everybody else was suffering. I think we can all
learn a lesson from it.
Hal Rosenbluth: Our industry not only survived,
but many of us have thrived during the most difficult times. I
think we all -- I hate to use the expression -- but we do the ugly
For additional coverage, see:
• Travel execs see industry at a crossroads
• Post-Sept.11, a new norm is taking shape
• Airlines still in crisis mode one year later
• Yields pay price for heavy discounting
• Turbulent times force Europe to shift focus
• TW agent poll: Better times are coming