This applications market sizing report analyzes the 2009 performance of the top 10 applications vendors in the leisure and lodging vertical. Following a steep recession that almost crippled the industry, hotels and casinos have regained their momentum with increased business and leisure travel activities.
Large and small companies in the vertical have started flexing their muscles by expanding around the globe, resulting in both infrastructure and IT spending to create an integrated environment that optimizes productivity, profitability and customer experience.
Top Line and Bottom Line
On the top line, hotels and gaming facilities have been pouring considerable resources into their front-office, property management, customer service and operations systems in an attempt to gain better business insights. The collective intelligence is becoming increasingly important to hotel and gaming operators that need to replicate positive customer experience from one site to another, reinforcing their brand value in order to generate new and incremental revenues from their sophisticated clientele.
The bottom line is that hotels and gaming facilities that have put in place robust and scalable systems will stand to benefit the most from the onslaught of global travel, which is heating up as the economic recovery takes hold.
The market for applications for the leisure and lodging vertical shrank 3% in 2009 as hotels, cruises and casinos faced severe headwind amid one of the worst recessions in history.
Some of the hotels kept up with their applications implementations especially those that had been planned years earlier, while others decided to postpone or put off their projects as they reduced their capital expenditures to stave off the effects of the recession.
For example, more than 500 Best Western properties have installed new property management applications from Multi-Systems, while system conversion was completed at more than 100 Wyndham hotels, which also standardize on Multi-Systems WinPM and Enterprise PM applications.
Vendors took advantage of the downturn to expand. Infor, which has been mostly selling into asset-intensive industries, acquired Softbrands. With large numbers of customers in both hospitality and manufacturing verticals, Softbrands has been focusing on limited-service hotels and its purchase by Infor will help it expand into international hotel chains.
Micros, the behemoth in the leisure and lodging vertical, acquired TIG Global, a marketing agency specializing in Website development, social and mobile media activities for the hospitality industry in January 2010.
While occupancy rates may still be under pressure in metropolitan areas, demand for new hotels continues to soar in fast-growing countries such as China, India and many parts of Latin America and the Middle East. For applications vendors that are capable of withstanding the downturn because of their large installed base of customers, diversified revenue streams and extensive product portfolios, the payoff is within reach.
Implications Of The Great Recession of 2008-2009
As vacancy signs were lit and casino seats went unoccupied, the leisure and lodging vertical experienced a sharp drop in business, causing hotel and casino operators to curtail their IT spending.
Compounded by the lingering effects of the credit crisis, major hotels, including tier-1 names such as Four Seasons Resort and Club in Dallas, went into foreclosure in June 2010 after the owners with more than $175 million in debt missed their payments. Other trophy properties around the world faced similar financial problems.
While luxury hotel chains were hard hit by the recession, budget and modestly-priced properties held up pretty well. The same applies to casinos such as Las Vegas Sands, which has rebounded nicely because of its loyal following in Macao, a successful IPO and its new gaming facility in Singapore.
Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Corp., two of the largest cruise ship operators, appeared to have rebounded from recession with minor scratches. The former rolled out its biggest ship ever with a spectacular maiden voyage in November 2009.
While it is too early to declare the end of the bust for the leisure and lodging vertical, vendors have reported promising results in the first quarter of 2010. Micros, for example, saw a 7% rise in software sales during the period citing improved demand from its hotel and retail customers. The same applies to Par Technology, which reported a return to operating profitability on a slight rise in revenues for the latest quarter for its hospitality division, which caters to hotels and restaurant chains.
Such early signs of recovery may reignite the interest of customers to jumpstart IT projects that have been left dormant by the recession. Hotel and casino operations will start using the latest applications to help them improve their financial results through operational efficiency and better customer experience, two disciplines that continue to elude many of them.
When the recovery returns, large hotels and casinos will continue to drive some of these applications projects. However much of the growth will come from small and mid-sized properties and gaming facilities that are likely to emerge from the recession in better shape than luxury or tier-1 brands because they carry less debt, which allows them to expand more freely.
Another silver lining is that choice hotel assets are being snapped up at a bargain, paving the way for new system implementations to improve their operations and returns for investors. For instance, 78 hotels have been acquired for a total of $2.2 billion in the first four months of 2010, according to Real Capital Analytics.
Hotels and casinos in fast-growing markets such as China, Brazil and others will also seek to expand to capture the domestic travel boom, which is likely to favor the building of budget and mid-priced facilities. Accor, for example, has announced plans to add 10 new hotels in 2011 and five more in 2012 in Indonesia.
Top 10 Applications Vendors In Vertical
The following table lists the 2009 shares of the top 10 applications vendors in the leisure and lodging vertical and their 2008 to 2009 applications revenues(license, maintenance and subscription) from the vertical.
|Vendor||2009 Share(%)||2009 Applications Revenues From|
Leisure and Lodging($M)
|2008 Applications Revenues From|
Leisure and Lodging($M)
Vendors To Watch
Vendors to watch in the leisure and lodging vertical will include those that are expected to do well in developing countries.
CM Solucoes in Brazil and eZee Technosys Pvt. in India are good examples of indigenous software houses that have sharpened their focus on the hotel vertical by tailoring property management and computer reservation systems for properties in up and coming destinations from Azerbaijan to Santiago, Chile.
Brilliant Hotel Software has also done well in the SMB segment by selling its Brilliant PMPRO for Hotel Front Office to an installed base of 2,000 hotels around the world.
The leisure and lodging vertical is slowly making its way out of the recession and many of the applications vendors are expected to see sustainable growth over the next 18 to 24 months as new projects are being approved to take advantage of the global travel boom.
On the upside, the popularity of travel sites and social media tools will become the great equalizer for small and mid-sized hotels and vacation boat operators to siphon business away from big chains, setting the stage for a new round of competition that is likely to be determined by how each side leverages the best applications for getting and retaining the mind and wallet shares of savvy travelers.
On the downside, there is still a huge backlog of legacy system upgrade and replacement projects especially among big hotel operators that may have to put them off because of their debt position, something that may take years for them to deleverage.
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Leisure and Lodging Market Report 2009-2014