IN OTHER NEWS:
THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
SEPTEMBER 21, 2009
Research: Bottom lines are
improved by business travel
By Jeri Clausing
The travel industry last week gained
two powerful new weapons in the
ongoing campaign to reverse negative public perceptions of business
travel, as two trade associations
released studies quantifying the
positive impact that corporate trips
have on a company’s profits and on
the economy in general.
According to separate studies published by
the U.S. Travel Association and the National
Business Travel Association, every dollar invested in business travel results in $12 to $15
in increased revenue, as much as a third of
which goes straight to the bottom line.
Increased business travel could also lead
See RESEARCH on Page 70
the country out of recession, both groups asserted.
“Business travel is economic stimulus,”
said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the
U.S. Travel Association, which commissioned
a study by Oxford Economics. “In order to
grow, businesses have to invest. This research
shows that face-to-face meetings and incentive awards to top performers are among the
smartest investments companies can make.”
The studies give the travel groups new ammunition to fight the backlash that brought
meetings travel to a virtual halt earlier this
year and to persuade businesses as they begin planning 2010 budgets to reconsider the
travel cuts many have implemented during
this year’s economic downturn.
Lalia Rach, divisional dean at New York
University’s hospitality school, called the two
studies “exactly the type of quantifiable data
that this industry has needed for decades.”
Wizards take on superheroes and Mickey
as Universal, Disney wage theme park wars
By Michelle Baran
Will wizards ultimately triumph over superheroes?
That was the question facing the theme
park world last week after the Walt Disney
Co. announced plans to acquire Marvel Entertainment and the Universal Orlando Resort broke two years of silence about its new
Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction,
slated to open this spring.
“If Harry Potter is executed properly, [Uni-versal has] enough intellectual property to expand that property for the next 25 years,” said
Dennis Spiegel, president of International
Theme Park Services Inc., a Cincinnati-based
theme park consulting company.
Universal Orlando does not release financial information, but Spiegel estimated that
Universal is investing about $300 million in
“From a creative material standpoint, I’ve
never seen anything that fits better into a
theme park,” Spiegel said of author J.K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter books.
In a webcast last week, Universal Orlando,
owned by NBC Universal, revealed details
about the Harry Potter project for the first
time since it was announced in May 2007.
Wizarding World will feature more than 20
acres of attractions, shops and restaurants
that re-create the fictional world of Rowling’s
books and Warner Bros.’ movies.
Mickey, meet the Hulk
While the success of the books and movies
leave little doubt about the potential for Wizarding World, Disney’s Marvel acquisition
could present a number of integration challenges for Disney and some licensing issues
for both Disney and Universal as they jockey
for theme park status and buzz in the coming
On Aug. 28, Disney agreed to purchase
Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. The
See THEME PARKS on Page 8
Leaning on leisure
Hotels that once prospered serving business travelers are
surviving the meetings drought by reinventing themselves to
serve the vacation crowd. BY JERI CLAUSING PAGE 18