A number of us from the DHISCO team had the pleasure of attending HEDNA’s Barcelona conference this week. The event is driven by executive attendees from leading hoteliers, OTAs, GDSs, travel search engines, consulting companies and industry research firms.

The mood was great; and why not? Jan Freitag, senior vice president of Smith Travel Research, reported there were more rooms sold in April in the U.S. than ever before! The hotel industry also posted the highest occupancy rates and the highest demand in history. The data proves hotels are enjoying the fruits of more business and leisure travel throughout the world.

With a strong dollar, growth in Europe  is obvious. But hotels there may feel the pinch more from the sharing economy than other regions. During one session, participants agreed that with two-thirds of its rooms owned by independent hotels, Europe may be more vulnerable to the Airbnb model.

And while that European growth may have a slight impact on the U.S., the overall outlook  remains good. Group demand is skyrocketing this year, Freitag said. Conventions are back, and the uptick is pushing revenue managers to boost transient travel prices.

This is all outstanding news for both the U.S. and European hoteliers. Thanks to HEDNA for hosting a terrific learning opportunity for both our U.S. and European staff.

As a Diamond Sponsor of HEDNA, we also mixed in a little fun. DHISCO gave away a Ritz-Carlton weekend with spa services that can be used anywhere in the world. The winner was Marc Galbis of the Spanish company idiso. Congratulation, Marc!

– Toni Portmann