Last year was a tough one for all. The hospitality industry was especially hard hit as leisure travelers pared way back on discretionary spending and business travel budgets got lean and mean. Looking ahead, restaurant sales in 2010 will be largely flat with a 2.5% increase that will be further offset by inflation, reports the National Restaurant Association. But flat is not down, and eager as we are to soak up good news, we'll take it.
Even better news, however, comes in looking at what hospitality executives themselves are doing in 2010. Hospitality Technology is well under way in registering hotel and restaurant executives to attend its 2010 spring networking and educational events, the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference (MURTEC) in March, and the Hotel Technology Forum in April, both in Las Vegas. With content geared towards intelligent innovation in the new hospitality dynamic, attendance is looking very strong. In fact, pre-registered attendance levels for these two conferences are tracking 50 percent higher in 2010 over the exact same period of time last year.
These stellar attendance levels mean two things to the hospitality industry: first, every time a new attendee registers for one of these events, a hotel books a room night and restaurants can expect to seat one more; and second, the industry's overwhelming willingness (50 percent higher!) to get out there and book travel is a sure indicator that food and lodging companies are on the mend. On that note, I sincerely hope to see you in Las Vegas.