Inbound tourism business is suffering. The Bureau of Tourism Research said that nights spent in Australia by holidaying foreigners had fallen 18 per cent since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) reports that in the first two months of 2003, the Iraq war and particularly the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus have combined to result in an unprecedented slump in inbound travel demand to Australia. The most recent ATC results show that visitor arrivals to Australia during the six months to June 2003, have decreased by 8 per cent relative to the same period of the previous year.
While many tourism organisations are now gearing up to counter this trend through various initiatives to increase inbound business, Best Western has taken a different approach. The world’s largest hotel chain represented in over 80 countries has developed a worldwide program for increasing outbound business.
Best Western head offices around the globe (America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, UK, Mexico, Israel etc) are actively sending business to each other, boosting international business for everyone.
The outbound program, launched 12 months ago, has already achieved pleasing results, with outbound business generated by Best Western affiliates worldwide growing 13 per cent in the last 12 months.
And in a period when most Australians are staying at home, Best Western Australia was one of the top 3 producers, growing the amount of room nights sent to Best Western properties overseas by 49 per cent and outbound revenue growing 32 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“It is really an effective way to capitalise on the global power of the world’s largest hotel chain”, says Jane Roennfeldt, General Manager Sales & Marketing for Best Western Australia. “Our outbound growth can be attributed to reciprocal sales calls conducted for other Best Western sales offices around the world, the promotion of Best Western’s international directories as well as a more international focus when calling on travel agents. Best Western Australia is not just about selling Australian properties anymore; we are also sales agents for 4000 Best Western hotels, motels, resorts and apartments worldwide. If we are sending business to our Best Western counterparts overseas then we are also going to benefit from receiving business from them.”
Best Western Australia recently reported a slight increase (2 per cent) in inbound business via the Best Western Australia International Hotel Pass for the year ending 31 March 2003.