Has the Recovery in Travel Checked Out?

After seeing signs of improvement in the travel industry at the start of the year, conditions are beginning to get a bit murky.


"We started the year very, very well and very strongly—up about 15 percent in revenue, most of that was in occupancy... but the summer slowed down a little bit," said John Scott, president and CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, in an interview Monday with CNBC.

Rosewood operates a number of luxury properties, including The Carlyle hotel in New York, and resorts throughout the Caribbean. The company's business is primarily driven by leisure travel, Scott said.

"We were still getting fairly strong bookings from the Northeast," he said. "It was awfully hot there in New York, and the rest of the Northeast, but the summer slowed down."

It's too soon to tell whether the weakening demandwas the result of travelers opting to take advantage of a stronger U.S. dollar and travel to Europe, or if it is a reflection of a more cautious consumer.

One positive sign for Rosewood is that room bookings for 2011 are looking good, according to Scott.

Travelers—even those that have higher incomes—remain very focused on value, Scott added.

"The consumer is looking for more for less," he said. "... we're in the very, very high end so we get less of it (consumers seeking extreme deals)."

Still, factors such as higher airfares to the Caribbeanregion may be hurting the company's business as consumers are looking at the total cost of a vacation very carefully.

Stephen Bartolin, the president and CEO of The Broadmoor, a luxury resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, also said consumers are still price conscious.

The Broadmoor relies on both leisure and business travelers, and has seen an improvement in both categories.

"Leisure has literally saved us this year in this economy," Bartolin said. "...The leisure business has been strong. The meeting industry is back to a degree, but it is far from robust."

Bartolin also said companies are experiencing a "sense of uncertainty" given expected changes in health care and taxes, among other things.

"They are not sure where it's going to take their company in a year," he went on to say.

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