The following are 10 key takeaways from the panel: 1. Travel is ranked No. 1 among all United States’ industry exports. Just how big is the travel industry? According to the U.S. Travel Association’s David Huether, the travel industry generated $2.1 trillion in revenue during 2013. In addition, the U.S. travel industry collected $134 billion in direct tax revenue. The hotel industry is a critical component to the travel industry, Huether said, adding that $167 billion (19%) of travel expenditures in 2013 came from hotels. 2. The U.S. Travel Association launched the “U.S. Travel Barometer,” which measures travel intent to the U.S. The forward-looking report is based on 30 billion global online lodging searches from 5,000 consumer travel websites (representing nearly 60% of all global hotel searches and conversions.) The findings? Huether shared July data for domestic interest in hotels in the U.S., which showed Massachusetts, New York, California, Florida and Texas accounted for 52% of all hotel searches in the country. The U.S. Travel Barometer is in its early stages but could prove useful for hotels in the future, Huether said. 3. The check-in and check-out experience matters most when it comes to guest satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s Richard Garlick. “The first and last impression check-in/check-out contributed to the overall satisfaction the most,” he said, pointing to results from the 2014 “J.D. Power North America hotel study.” Get the full story at Hotel News Now