There is a bevy of macro and microeconomic trends that will help shape the hotel industry’s next 18 months, panelists discussed Monday during the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Revenue Optimization Conference. During the opening general session titled “Industry’s economic outlook” at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, panelists discussed that while the hotel industry is in its sweet spot of growth, some challenges remain, including fast-changing technology, the evolving distribution channels and attracting the international traveler—specifically the Chinese traveler. Panelists agreed in order for the hotel industry to move forward, hoteliers need to stop being conservative and start finding ways to get innovative with big data and other information that might help them overcome such challenges. “The way we change our numbers, the way we move forward is very conservative,” said Kathy Maher, senior VP of revenue management for Wyndham Hotel Group. “That’s why we need to have more thought to how we can be proactive. We can continue to have our (revenue-per-available-room) increase, but there may be an innovative nugget out there.” Get the full story at Hotel News Now