Market Analysis of Recreational Market
Lodging demand is gauged by occupancy level. Many subcategories of accommodation are analyzed given differing market areas and travellers’ preferences. Hotels, lodges and resorts typically rely on market analysis to assess supply and demand factors. Such research may be focused on local, regional, national or international statistics or a specialty market within one or more of these categories. This data is often combined with qualitative information gained through market research regarding travelling preferences for specific types of accommodation and amenities. On the supply side, specialized marketing companies provide research regarding number of rooms within defined markets. Owners and operators of hotels and similar accommodation have avail themselves of this sophisticated market analysis tool to assess specific property performance in relation to the competition and adjust strategies accordingly. Data is also available regarding business sources (e.g., transient single night travelers, group packages and corporation contract arrangements). HOTELS/MOTELS A hotel is broadly defined as a building in which temporary lodging is provided, and may include meals and other services. A motel is a hotel in which parking is provided near the room and may include door access directly from the room to the parking area. Regardless of this distinction, every hotel and motel seeks to match its particular amenities to a specific traveler profile. While large hotels rely on statistical analysis and market studies, smaller hotels focus on personal information fact finding concerning guest preferences. Regardless, the intent is the same; match the hotel accommodation to the needs of its target audience be it an economy chain, an exclusive downtown business destination or a 10-unit motel on Georgian Bay. BOUTIQUE HOTELS The boutique hotel sector has grown in stature within both urban and recreational marketplaces. A trend away from standardized hotel accommodation in favour of these unique establishments is now well established in Ontario. Boutique hotels are often focused on the luxury accommodation market and boast lifestyle preferences, such as wellness and spa facilities. While definitions vary as to what constitutes a boutique hotel, size is a key factor. Travelers are demanding more than mere comfort and convenience prevalent in standardized hotels, boutique hotels typically have a unique wow factor to set them apart, be in architecture and design, meticulous attention to detail and/or personalized service. Often, boutique hotels are situated in downtown or in-demand recreational locations close to attractions and services, and need not provide restaurant, meeting or other facilities usual to brand name hotels. LODGES/RESORTS A lodge typically consists of a main inn (the lodge), often complemented with cottages or cabins. Lodges are traditionally associated with rustic accommodations, while resorts are more all-inclusive accommodations providing various forms of recreation and entertainment. However, differentiation between the two is often blurred; e.g., a five-star lodge versus a two-star rustic resort. To compound matters, the term resort means different things to different people. A resort may be a specific property (a resort on a lake), a resort town (e.g., Niagara-on-the-Lake or Collingwood) or an area (the Muskokas). Regardless, Ontario attracts the travelling public to many resort destinations given well-known fishing resources, golf courses white water rafting, wilderness canoeing, extensive freshwater sand beaches, and winter sports including dos sledding, snowmobiling and downhill or cross country skiing. Upper scale resorts can be broadly grouped into destination and non-destination properties. A destination resort is one in which patrons typically travel considerable distance from home. Canadians think or large destination resort areas such as Disney World, Cancun and Las Vegas – each with a distinctive flair, attractions and amenities. The drawing power of these centers is evidenced in the rise of mega-hotels containing 1,000 or more rooms. In Las Vegas, for example, the MGM Grand Hotel boasts more than 5,000 rooms. Smaller destination resort areas in Canada would include Banff and Whistler. A non-destination resort draws its clients from adjacent areas, typically no more than two or three driving hours away. In Ontario, Collingwood is a good example of a thriving non-destination resort in that most patrons arrive from Toronto and other nearby urban areas. Obviously, the target market for resorts can be a combination of both destination and non0destination travelers. Resorts typically offer four and five star accommodation including one or more golf courses, an on-site spa, fitness centre, indoor/outdoor pools and tennis courts, spacious manicured grounds, assorted recreational activities including biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboating and winter activities (snowshoeing, downhill or cross-country skiing and skating). LARGE RECREATIONAL RESORT/HOTELS The size and complexity of international resorts has grown dramatically in terms of recreational/vacation housing choices and services/facilities provided to residents and visitors. A large recreational resort/hotel should be differentiated from its commercial urban counterpart. Recreational hotels are designed for those seeking relaxation and seeking expanded amenities not found in typical downtown commercial hotels.