Here in the UK we’re busy doing what we do best: pontificating about the weather – the schools are now out for the summer so naturally it’s raining, until next weekend when it’s set to be a scorcher so we’ll all be moaning about that. We’re also enjoying the tradition of pumping our football team full of the weight of expectation of a nation. Except in a change to the scripted ending we’ve come to know and fear, this time the weight of expectation was not only shouldered but fulfilled by Sarina Wiegman and her pride of Lionesses who triumphed in a historic victory over Germany winning the UEFA Women’s Euro tournament at Wembley on Sunday evening.
Many of us watching the match – 17.4 million on the BBC and 5.9 million on digital streaming platforms – were struck by how much progress has been made in a sport that women were banned from playing by the FA in 1921 on the grounds that it was ‘quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged’.
And this progress, in sport as in life, and by life we mean the hotel industry, is a result of shifting trends, updated behaviour and adapting mindsets (for more on mindsets and how those in the sector need a shift, do have a listen to this podcast episode with Antony Woodcock, co founder and managing director at GIG) as no doubt Leah Williamson and her team mates can attest.
From one Antony to another (let’s leap over the difference in spelling for a smooth transition to the next paragraph) and as results seasons continued, it was the turn of Marriott International to share its performance highs and lows to the assembled analysts on Tuesday afternoon. And highs there were many. Confidence was high – excluding development and demand from China and Russia – and mainly thanks to fees earned by co-brand credit card which had increased nearly 40% year over year at the end of the second quarter.
Conversions delivered another reason to be cheerful as Tony Capuano, CEO at Marriott International told the assembled: “we signed 23,000 rooms around the world in the second quarter, nearly 30 percent of which were conversions from competitor brands. Conversions continue to be a meaningful growth driver, comprising roughly 25 percent of room additions in the quarter.”
One area that continues to intrigue analysts and the rest of us is whether the punchy rates seen across the sector will hold for the rest of the year and into 2023. With many reports, including one this week from investment bank Goodbody indicating a capital raising decline of 75 percent year over year for the UK’s travel and leisure sector as a result of dampening consumer demand, one wonders how long these rates can continue in their punchy vein.
Capuano’s answer? The ‘blended trip purpose’. The CEO believes the “blended trip purpose will endure well beyond the end of the pandemic” and act as the demand driver on the leisure side and so help drive those rates, the likes of which owners have become accustomed.
The England Lionesses might be topping Europe’s leaderboard, but pay discrepancies with the England men’s team mean that many of them have to work AND play. Is that what you meant, Anthony?