September is a rough month for disaster anniversaries, but the industry continues to move forward.
It’s a rather grim week for disaster anniversaries, isn’t it?
Tuesday, of course, marked the 17th anniversary of the horrible tragedy of 9/11. And 10 September was the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers financial collapse in the U.S. Two very different disasters, of course, and this week I’m thinking about how the hotel industry—and the global travel industry—has changed since both of them.
We’re all aware of how 9/11 changed travel. We still see those effects every day. Heightened security efforts, particularly around airports and air travel, are common now. Many of my colleagues don’t remember travel before these protocols came into play, and it’s somewhat strange to realize that most of us now work with people who barely remember life before that day. While 9/11-related travel protocols continue to keep us safer than if we didn’t have them, the world certainly has become even more global in those 17 years, and we’re not free from threats that target people while they travel—in planes, at hotels and so forth.
So while the industry performance numbers certainly have bounced back since that day, safety and security threats from all angles are still here. I’m happy though that safety and security takes a more vocal role in the conversation these days. It’s happening at all levels of the spectrum, even when it comes to personal safety—major applause for last week’s announcement by all the major global hotel company CEOs to back the Five-Star Promise initiative to prevent sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
This week also brings to mind those 2008 events that led to the Great Recession.
If you were in the hotel industry at the time, maybe you were like me, at The Lodging Conference in Phoenix that week. I was still pretty new to the industry at the time, but I knew this news was big. I just had no idea how big—I still shudder a little when I remember how I wrote an email memo to my staff that week outlining all the reasons why I didn’t think this would end up being a big deal for the hotel industry.
Boy was I wrong!
It sure was a big deal, and the industry spent many years digging out, but as this 10th anniversary comes up, I’m reminded that in the grand scheme of things, 10 years is not a long time. The industry has come a long way in those years, and for the most part, supply and demand ratios, as well as key performance indicators, have kept the ship that is the hotel industry sailing forward in pretty favorable weather conditions.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been lasting impact. My colleague Terence Baker wrote an interesting blog on this topic earlier this week, making some connections between the events in the U.S. and how those played out in the U.K.
I know this week and moving forward we’ll hear more about that impact—the positives, the negatives and of course the indicators that show any cracks in the armor that is this 10-year recovery.
Of course, mid-September isn’t all reminiscing about doom and gloom. On Monday, 17 September, Hotel News Now celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Yes, the site launched right before the Great Recession (and right around the time Airbnb launched, too!). Starting on Monday, we are launching a miniseries in our Daily Update newsletter where we look back on the headlines from the last 10 years. Keep an eye out for that—it’ll run until later this fall. In addition to celebrating the Hotel News Now journey, what’s great about this series is how you’ll see the news of those 10 years since Lehman’s collapse play out.
Enjoy our time capsule of content, starting Monday. And if you’d like to share any comments or memories about how 9/11 or the start of the Great Recession affected your hotel, comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph.
Also, don’t forget that our campaign to gather your best practices for all sorts of tasks in the hotel world is still open. We’re going to publish these in a special report this fall, and the process of submitting a best practice is super easy. Check it out and tell us your tip!
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