Time to say goodbye to the year of pessimism
Time to say goodbye to the year of pessimism
20 DECEMBER 2016 8:17 AM

2016 has been a year marked by what industry observers deemed “uncertainty,” but it’s time to acknowledge what that feeling really was and to send it off into oblivion.

The end of the year inevitably leads to a wave of retrospection, and looking back on 2016, one word seemed to plague the hotel industry throughout the year. That word is “uncertainty.”

It started in January when Chinese markets tanked, pushing corporate travel budgets over a cliff in the process. Since then, everyone has been afraid of not knowing what’s around the corner, even at points where empirical evidence was telling us things just simply aren’t that bad.

There’s a word for that type of thinking, and it definitely isn’t “uncertainty.” It’s “pessimism.” So as we prepare to put 2016 in the history books, let’s finally call it what it is. This has been the year of pessimism for hotel industry analysts, experts and executives.

To be fair, it’s not an entirely unfounded feeling. Things have been humming along pleasantly for a good, long while. We’re approaching the point where things usually take a turn for the worse, and no one wants to be the one person caught off guard when things ultimately and inevitably go spiraling downward.

Growth has noticeably slowed. That’s undeniable. But at the same time, the U.S. hotel industry has continued to set records in terms of absolute values for things like demand and RevPAR.

Hopefully, the pessimists have had their day. There are reasons for optimism, again, especially with markets enjoying a rebound in light of President-elect Donald Trump’s unexpected win.

There is every reason to believe there will be a prolonged period of business-friendly conditions that could lead to strong GDP growth. We don’t know that for certain. (In fact, you could even say the industry faces some true “uncertainty.”)

But not knowing what will happen in the future is not in and of itself a reason to believe things will be bad. We never truly know what the future holds, and all we can do is collectively make our best guesses.

My best guess (which admittedly is significantly less informed than a lot of folks out there) is that conditions are setting up to be pretty good in 2017. So let’s embrace a little optimism for a change as we welcome in 2017.

Think I’m being a Pollyanna? Let me know via email or on Twitter.

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