Hotel Data Conference day two recap
Hotel Data Conference day two recap
20 AUGUST 2018 7:48 AM

The second day of the Hotel Data Conference included a look at evolving traveler demographics and how hotel executives execute strategy.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee—The second day of the sold-out 10th Annual Hotel Data Conference focused on the shifting traveler demographics, and how this and other factors may be affecting the hotel industry.

Co-hosted by STR and Hotel News Now at the Omni Nashville Hotel, the Hotel Data Conference sold out for the fifth consecutive year with a record 693 attendees.

Lorraine Sileo, senior VP of research at Phocuswright, provided an overview of findings in traveler behavior.

“How we travel has as much to do with who we are as it has to do with where we’re going, and research constantly shows that one of the biggest differentiators in how we choose where to research our travel products has to do with age,” Sileo said.

Sileo cited several key data points from Phocuswright’s U.S. Consumer Travel Report:

  • When asked how they booked their last trip, 33% of travelers said they booked direct through the supplier instead of through an OTA. This is higher than the response in 2016, where only 24% of travelers booked directly.
  • 55% of 18- to 34-year-old hotel loyalty members joined in the last two years, with better prices and free Wi-Fi as the top two reasons for joining.
  • 65% of U.S. hotel guests place high importance on hotels investing in technology to enhance guest experience.
  • 54% who considered or researched home and condo rentals also looked at hotels.

Later in the morning, Stephanie Atiase (senior director of corporate strategy and corporate development at Hilton), Brenna Halliday (VP of strategic insight at Host Hotels & Resorts), Sam Makani (VP of portfolio strategy and reporting at Solid Rock Group) and Susan Sanders (senior VP of strategic planning at Hospitality Ventures Management Group) joined a panel to give an inside look into their insights on executing forward-thinking strategies.

The day closed with a panel titled “What happened to ADR growth” featuring Esther Gayfield, VP of hotel asset management at Colony Northstar, Inc.; Michael Heaton, president at Waterford Hotel Group, Inc.; Ash Kapur, senior VP of hotel asset management & CFO at Starwood Capital Group; and Leticia Proctor, senior VP of sales, revenue management and digital strategies at PM Hotel Group.

A few highlights from the panel included:

  • When discussing if occupancy is a driver of ADR, Heaton pointed to group demand: “When group is off, it changes the whole food chain.”
  • Kapur noted the use of social media and how it is affecting hotels: “How we perform, how we treat guests and what they’re telling about us online actually has a greater impact than how we price so it’s not just about if I’m selling my room for a hundred bucks on each of these sites, it’s also about what the consumer is saying.”
  • In response to shifting traveler demographics affecting hotel pricing, Proctor said, “I think they want that unique experience; they don’t want to travel to 10 different cities and get that same cookie-cutter experience. So they’re willing to pay, they’re willing to forgo a car to have that best experience.”
  • When discussing retail pricing and approaching new supply, Gayfield said there may be too much focus on history: “With the brands’ revenue-management systems, they are looking at perhaps too much history, where these markets that have had a lot of new supply open recently, but the trends have changed significantly and the systems are making recommendations based on information that’s no longer relevant.”

Overall, the two-day HDC event included five general sessions, 17 breakout panel sessions, 18 “data dash” sessions and nine advanced-level “data dive” discussions. All told, the conference featured approximately 970 minutes of data.

About the Hotel Data Conference
The Hotel Data Conference is a gathering of industry executives with a specific interest in crunching data to improve the performance of their hotels and/or hotel companies. The conference content is designed to appeal to brand executives, hotel owners, developers, operators, revenue management specialists and pricing analysts. For more information, please visit

About STR
STR provides clients from multiple market sectors with premium, global data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 15 countries with a corporate North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and an international headquarters in London, England. For more information, please visit

About Hotel News Now
Hotel News Now is the definitive online news resource for hotel owners, operators, developers and all other parties interested in the global hotel industry. Our experienced editorial team provides breaking news coverage, how-to resources, trends and in-depth analysis that leverages our access to hotel performance benchmarking data from parent company STR. For more information, visit
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