Road report: KYTC District 6 reports what’s up on our roads this week — look for delays, closures, detours


The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6 is reporting the week’s road work — be aware of possible delays, lane closures and detours.

KENTON COUNTY, KENTUCKY – HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO

• Brent Spence Bridge – I-71/75 Southbound/Northbound (191.3 – 191.8 mile-marker) –  A routine maintenance project to clean and paint the Brent Spence Bridge is COMPLETE.  All lanes and ramps are open.

BOONE COUNTY 

• KY 3159 (Ted Bushelman Blvd.) 0 – 0.6 mile-marker – A widening and road improvement project on KY 3159 (Ted Bushelman Blvd.) is in progress.  Motorists should be alert in the work zone.

• U.S. 42 Bridge (13.9 mile-marker) over I-71/75 (180 mile-marker) – A project is in progress that will add a new westbound lane and pedestrian sidewalk.  One lane in each direction on I-71/75 is closed within the project area. In addition, both shoulders in both directions are closed within the project area. Motorists should watch for lane closures, crews and equipment in the work zone.

• KY 237 (Pleasant Valley Road) – A project is in progress on Pleasant Valley Road between Valley View Drive and Rogers Lane. The roadway is being widened and re-aligned and includes the construction of a bridge and roundabout. Traffic is on the new alignment from just north of Oakbrook Road/Carters Mill Lane to Rogers Lane to allow for the next phase of construction. The new traffic pattern will keep one lane open in each direction on KY 237 and Camp Ernst Road. All traffic will utilize the new roundabout intersection of KY 237 and Camp Ernst Road. Traffic is on the new alignment from just north of Oakbrook Road/Carters Mill Lane to Rogers Lane to allow for the next phase of construction. The new traffic pattern will keep one lane open in each direction on KY 237 and Camp Ernst Road.

• KY 536 (Mt Zion Road) Double Crossover Diamond (DCD) interchange – Construction is in progress between Tiburon Drive and US 25 (Dixie Highway). The new single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Sherwood Lakes Dr. and the Biltmore Connector is now OPEN. The new connection that runs from Biltmore Blvd. to Investment Way also is open. As a reminder, traffic wishing to enter the roundabout should always yield to traffic already circling the roundabout.

Through Tuesday, Nov. 30, weather permitting:

A new travel pattern on Mt. Zion Rd. (KY 536) is in place so that roadway widening and other improvements can continue. East and westbound traffic is using the newly built pavement on the south side of Mt. Zion Rd. from Highland Dr. to the I-71/75 overpass while work continues on the north side of the roadway.

This traffic pattern is expected to be in place through Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Ongoing traffic impacts, weather permitting:

Crews will be working along Mt. Zion Rd. between Tiburon Dr. and Dixie Hwy. (US 25). Occasional lane closures may occur, but traffic will be maintained with flaggers when needed.

The access road that connect Berberich Dr. and Sam Neace Dr. is open.

• KY 338 (Richwood Road) Double Crossover Diamond (DCD) interchange and U.S. 25 Dixie Highway SPUI – Work is in progress.  

Through Monday, Nov. 22, weather permitting:

The intersection of Paddock Rd. and Richwood Rd. (KY 338) is CLOSED. A detour route using Triple Crown Blvd., Secretariat Run, and Paddock Dr. has been put into place and is marked with signage.

Through Tuesday, Nov. 16, weather permitting:

Transport Drive is CLOSED at US 25.  All Transport Drive traffic should access US 25 via Logistics Blvd. 

Ongoing traffic impacts, weather permitting:

Traffic on U.S. 25 is in a new traffic pattern as work continues within the project area. 

Ongoing Traffic Reminders:

The right lane of I-71/75 northbound is closed from approximately one-half mile south of the Richwood Rd. (KY 338) exit to the bridge over Frogtown Rd. (The length of the closure is approximately one mile.) This closure is expected to remain in place through the end of the year while improvement work continues in the northbound ramp area.

In addition, the right lane of I-71/75 southbound is closed at the Richwood Rd. (KY 338) exit for approximately one mile. This closure is expected to be in place through the end of the year.

Crews are working along Richwood Rd. (KY 338) between Triple Crown Blvd./Grand National Blvd. and Dixie Hwy. (US 25), and along the US 25 corridor. Occasional lane closures may occur, but traffic will be maintained with flaggers when needed. Please be aware of construction vehicles entering and exiting the project area.

Crews also are continuing work on Best Pal Dr., Winning Colors Dr., and Triple Crown Blvd. weekdays between 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. During this time, temporary road closures may be needed, and short-term detours will be put into place.

Railroad Crossings Update:

The Old Lexington Pike railroad crossing just south of Richwood Rd. is closed.

All traffic will use Chambers Rd. to access US 25 and I-71/75. Temporary traffic signals have been installed at the intersection of Chambers Rd. and US 25 to help improve traffic flow. (Signals will remain flashing until operational.)

This traffic pattern is expected to be in place throughout the duration of construction work, which is scheduled to continue through 2022, but options to reduce the length of this closure are being evaluated.

The railroad crossing at Richwood Rd. and US 25 is now permanently closed.

During construction, traffic will cross the railroad tracks at the intersection of Shorland Dr./Winning Colors Dr., where new traffic signals are operational and timed to help ease congestion and support traffic flow through the intersection.

This closure is needed so that temporary railroad tracks can be built in the project area to allow for major intersection improvements at Richwood Rd. and US 25.

• New I-275 – Graves Road Interchange – The new DCD interchange is OPEN to traffic. Work will continue on a new road connecting to KY 20 (Petersburg Road). Graves Rd. has been reopened to local traffic only between Worldwide Blvd. and Sequoia Drive. 
The Graves Rd. leg of the KY 237 roundabout is CLOSED. A detour route using Worldwide Blvd. to Graves Rd. will be put into place and marked with signage. The intersection of Worldwide Blvd./Williams Rd. and Graves Rd. will be a new four-way stop. 
This travel pattern will remain in place as utility relocation and construction work continues at the new roundabout. Access to Graves Rd. from the KY 237 roundabout is expected to be closed through mid-December pending completion of utility relocation and weather.

CAMPBELL COUNTY 

• KY 8 (Mary Ingles Highway) 18 milepost – A bridge rehabilitation project will soon begin on the truss bridge that crosses Twelvemile Creek. Starting Nov. 8, crews will be on-site clearing the area to prepare for construction. It is anticipated that a total closure will begin Jan. 3. Once a date is confirmed, the bridge will be closed to traffic for 150 days. A signed detour will be in place.

• KY 445 (Mary Ingles Highway) 0 – 1.1 mile-marker – A resurfacing project is in progress on a section of KY 445 (Mary Ingles Highway) between KY 8 (Industrial Road) and KY 6335 (Old KY 8). 
Motorists should watch for flaggers and lane closures during daytime hours. Work is weather-dependent.

• U.S. 27 (0 – 1 mile-marker) – A safety improvement project is in progress on U.S. 27. Construction will focus on three areas: the KY 177 intersection (17.1-17.5 marker ) going northbound to just past KY 3162 (Lock Road) intersection, the Boss Dunaway Road intersection (19 milepost) in northern Pendleton County and the intersection of Plum Creek Church Road (1 milepost) in southern Campbell County. Motorists should be aware of crews and lane closures in the work zone areas.

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GALLATIN COUNTY 

• I-71 Northbound and Southbound (69.9 – 59.9 mile-marker) – A resurfacing project on a 10-mile section of I-71 is in progress with base failure work on several locations between KY 35 (Sparta Pike) near the Kentucky Speedway north to the Boone County line. Motorists should watch for lane closures and crews during nighttime hours of 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following morning. This project will coordinate with the current bridge deck project. The nighttime work is expected to be done by Dec. 1. Work will resume in the Spring of 2022 with resurfacing the 10-mile section.

• I-71 Northbound (63.5 – 67.1 mile-marker) – A bridge deck overlay project on three interstate bridges is in progress. A northbound single lane closure between the 63.5 – 67.1 mile-marker will be in place until approximately Nov. 20. A 13 ft. wide restriction will be in place in the work zone. Motorists should expect delays.
 
• U.S. 42 (3.1 – 4.6 mile-marker) – U.S. 42 IS CLOSED to traffic from the Markland Dam to Craigs Creek for a landslide repair project until Nov. 2023. A signed detour will be in place to direct vehicles onto KY 1039 to I-71 to KY 35.

GRANT COUNTY

• KY 467 (Warsaw Road) 2.5 – 11.7 mile-marker/Curry Road (0 – .08 mile-marker) – A base failure, resurfacing project is in progress on KY 467 from KY 1132 (Folsom Road) o KY 22 in Dry Ridge. All of Curry Road will be resurfaced. Crews will work during daylight hours. Some weekend work is possible. Motorists should exercise caution and watch for flaggers, traffic control devices, construction personnel, and equipment entering and leaving the work zone.

KENTON COUNTY  

• KY 17 (Madison Pike) 4.3 – 4.8 mile-marker/7.8 milepost – A highway safety improvement project has begun to improve sight distance between the area of KY 14 and Cruise Creek and realign the KY 17 intersection at KY 2042 (Moffett Road). Utility work is currently in progress. Motorists should watch for crews, equipment, flaggers, and possible lane closures during the project.
 
• KY 1501 (Hands Pike) – Construction on a new, two-lane road will realign Hands Pike from the KY 17 (Madison Pike) and KY 3035 (Old Madison Pike) intersection to Crystal Lake Drive is in progress.

Motorists should watch for construction crews and equipment in the project area. Blasting operations are in progress. Daily blasting will occur in the project area Monday – Friday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. A warning siren will sound five minutes before the blast, as well as a warning siren one minute before the blast. Motorists on KY 1501 (Hand Pike) can be stopped during the operation. Please watch for flaggers.

• John A. Roebling Bridge (KY 17) – The John A. Roebling Bridge is completely closed to vehicular traffic for a lengthy restoration project to preserve the 154 year-old historic landmark. A pedestrian walkway will remain open during the project. Additional repairs have been added to the project. The bridge will be closed to motorists through the end of the year. Work will continue in the spring 2022 that will require lane closures. Motorists may use the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge (U.S. 25) or the 4th Street/Veterans Bridge (KY 8) to the Taylor Southgate Bridge (U.S. 27) as a detour. 

• KY 2373 (Bromley-Crescent Springs Road) – 3.1 – 3.8 mile-marker – A safety improvement project is in progress between Anderson Road and Amsterdam Road. Watch for crews, equipment and lane closures in the work zone. The road is closed to through traffic until Spring 2022, so that crews can do utility work and install a box culvert and retaining wall. Motorists may use Anderson Road (KY 2373) to Buttermilk Pike (KY 371) to Collins Road to Amsterdam Road as a detour.

PENDLETON COUNTY

• U.S. 27 (17.1 – 19.3 mile-marker) – A safety improvement project is in progress on U.S. 27. Construction will focus on three areas: the KY 177 intersection (17.1-17.5 marker ) going northbound to just past KY 3162 (Lock Road) intersection, the Boss Dunaway Road intersection (19 milepost) in northern Pendleton County and the intersection of Plum Creek Church Road (1 milepost) in southern Campbell County. Motorists should be aware of crews and lane closures in the work zone areas.

WORK ZONE TIP

1.   Expect the unexpected.
2.   Slow down.
3.   Don’t tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.
4.   Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the construction workers and equipment.
5.   Pay attention to the signs.
6.   Obey road crew flaggers.
7.   Stay alert and minimize distractions.
8.   Keep up with the traffic flow.
9.   Navigate traffic with GoKY TRIMARC or via Waze on your smartphone!
10.  You can follow us on the social media links below.
11.  Knowing where the construction zones are prior to the trip can minimize frustration and delays.
12.  Be patient and stay calm.

For more information: DrivingProgressNKY





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Report: U.S. Extended-Stay Hotels Set Q3 Performance Records


Third-quarter performance for U.S. extended-stay hotels set 14 new records for metrics including demand, occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room, according to the latest quarterly report from The Highland Group. Additionally, in year-to-date metrics through Sept. 30, economy extended-stay hotels set four new records, midprice reported two and the upscale segment set a new high for demand.

“It is highly likely that extended-stay hotels will continue to set new performance records during the near term,” said The Highland Group partner Mark Skinner in a statement.

Third-quarter U.S. extended-stay hotel room-night demand was 40,431, representing a 25.7 percent year-over-year increase and the highest gain in demand ever reported during any quarter for the segment, according to the report. Supply growth, with various hotel closures and re-openings due to the effects of the pandemic, was 6.3 percent during the same period, consistent with what was seen prior to the pandemic.

The overall U.S. extended-stay occupancy level was 78.8 percent for the quarter, an 18.2 percent year-over-year increase. The economy tier reported the highest occupancy level at 83.3 percent, followed by midprice at 78.5 percent. Both figures were third-quarter records for their tiers and represent full recovery to 2019 third-quarter occupancy levels. Occupancy in the upscale tier, however, which accounts for about 40 percent of extended-stay room supply, was 77.2 percent. Though lower than the other tiers, the number represents a 30 percent year-over-year increase. 

Economy and midprice ADRs have surpassed 2019 levels and set new third-quarter records. Upscale-tier ADR increased 22.4 percent from its 2020 level but still is about $9 lower than its 2019 level. The overall U.S. extended-stay segment’s ADR was $104.96 for the quarter, about 98 percent of the 2019 third-quarter rate. 

Third-quarter RevPAR was up 48.5 percent year over year to $82.76. All three tiers showed significant year-over-year improvement, with economy and midprice RevPAR above 2019 third-quarter levels. Upscale RevPAR improved 59.1 percent year over year to $106.18, representing about 89 percent of 2019’s third-quarter level.

RELATED: Report: Q2 U.S. Extended-Stay Demand at Record High



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Tourism Authority report forecasting strong recovery for travel


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The San Diego Tourism Authority’s most recent report on forecasting hotel occupancy is raising some eyebrows in a good way.

“To be able to do the numbers that we did this summer, it was extremely, pleasantly surprised,” Julie Coker, President & CEO of San Diego Tourism Authority, said.

That surprise for Coker is the summer 2021 hotel occupancy figures being on par with pre-pandemic figures.

“This past summer, we were seeing 2019 numbers. So, there were weeks in July and August that our numbers exceeded what numbers we were able to achieve in 2019,” Coker said.

While figures as a whole are still below pre-COVID activity, the agency is saying that the travel sector for the region is in the middle of a strong recovery during the pandemic as that gap closes.

“All of the surveys that we show in terms of traveler’s sentiment is a greater level of confidence based on vaccination rates,” Coker said.

“So, the fact that San Diego was able to do such a great job with getting up to over 80 percent definitely helped.”

Other things like marketing and San Diego being a top destination helped a lot too.

The hope is this recovery will roll into 2022 with having more confidence from international travelers, attendance at conventions and getting more of the conventions themselves helping San Diego’s travel sector.

“I think what we thrive on is the convention business,” Rick Bates, Research Analyst Unite Here Local 30, said.

Something local hospitality union members agree will help also bring the workforce back to pre-pandemic levels.

“That’s where the money really flows into the hotels and convention centers,” Bates said.

“I don’t think we are going to have employers bring everybody back right away until that beings to really happen.”

Corker told ABC 10News that a whole calendar year of pre-pandemic levels for the travel sector may not happen until at least 2023.

But, showing how strong 2022 can be could hinge on how the holiday season shapes out.

“If we don’t see the rise in hospitalization cases, then I do think 2022 will be a better year for business travel,” Coker said.

“I also think that send a signal to meetings and conventions that it’s time to come back in person.”

The tourism authority also credits the success of other major events like the U.S. Open, Breeders’ Cup and marathons being done safely encourages travelers to come here and help with the recovery.





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Report: Melvin Ingram Did Not Travel With Pittsburgh Steelers to Cleveland


Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram did not travel with the team to Cleveland to face the Browns in Week 8, according to ESPN’s Kimberly Jones. 

Ingram is out with a listed groin injury but has been the certain of most headlines throughout the week with repots he’s seeking a trade by the Nov. 2 deadline. 

Ingram is reportedly upset with his lack of play time after taking the field for just 26% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps in Week 6. Head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed he did have conversations with Ingram about the matter. 

Tomlin said Ingram’s absence from the Steelers’ final practice was due to his groin injury. 

Make sure you bookmark All Steelers for the latest news, exclusive interviews, film breakdowns and so much more!

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Report: U.S. Hotel Construction Pipeline Declines


The U.S. hotel construction pipeline as of Sept. 30 declined 8 percent year over year to 4,837 projects, according to a new Lodging Econometrics report. Rooms under construction declined 10 percent to about 592,000. Factors influencing developer decisions include the prolonged effects of the pandemic, above-average inflation, rising interest rates, and material shortages and price increases, according to the report.

Further, third-quarter projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are down 14 percent year over year, and 15 percent by room count. Projects under construction also were down in the quarter, largely due to projects that have completed construction and have opened.

Still, developers have a more positive long-term view with 1,978 projects with nearly 240,000 rooms in the early planning stages in the third quarter, up 27 percent and 25 percent year-over-year, respectively. 

Year to date through Sept. 30, 665 new hotels with 85,306 rooms opened in the United States, with another 221 projects with 23,026 rooms anticipated to open by the end of the year. 

Hotel Chain, Brand Construction

Marriott International leads hotel companies with the most new construction projects at 1,286 with 166,174 rooms. Hilton is next with 1,223 projects with 139,742 rooms, followed by IHG Hotels & Resorts with 769 projects with 77,558 rooms. These three companies combined comprise 68 percent of the total construction pipeline projects, according to Lodging Econometrics.

The brands leading with the most project counts include Home2 Suites by Hilton, followed by IHG’s Holiday Inn Express and Marriott’s Fairfield Inn. These three brands account for 20 percent of the projects in the total construction pipeline. Additional brands with significant projects in the works are Hilton’s Hampton and Tru, Marriott’s TownePlace Suites and Residence Inn, and IHG’s Avid and Staybridge Suites. 

Marriott opened 60 new hotels with 7,882 rooms during the third quarter, accounting for 30 percent of the new hotel rooms that opened in the United States. Hilton followed with 45 new hotels with 4,923 rooms, accounting for 19 percent of new U.S. rooms. 

Construction by Destination

Dallas led all locations for the third quarter with the most total hotel construction projects at 147 with 17,711 rooms, followed closely by Atlanta with 139 projects with 18,659 rooms. Los Angeles, New York and Houston rounded out the top five. In total, these five account for 13 percent of the projects and 15 percent of the rooms in the total U.S. pipeline.

The top 25 markets account for 33 percent of all projects and 37 percent of all rooms in the U.S. hotel construction pipeline. New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Austin have the greatest number of projects already in the ground. Atlanta has the largest number of projects projected to start construction in the next 12 months.

RELATED: Q2 U.S. hotel construction 



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Travel Portland presents telling tourism report to city council | Local News


PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – Portland’s reputation isn’t the greatest. That’s the big takeaway from a city council meeting Wednesday morning, when Travel Portland presented a telling tourism report.

In the meeting, Commissioner Mingus Mapps started by bringing up some reputation concerns.

“Here’s the problem,” said Commissioner Mapps. “Around the world, too many people associate Portland with homelessness and homicide.”

“Today, a significant chunk of humanity is afraid of spending time and money in our city,” he continued.

That skepticism surrounding the city is holding back major economic recovery, according to the President and CEO of Travel Portland.

“Continued attacks and breaking glass on buildings throughout the city, but especially downtown, continued to affect this hard to overcome sentiment, “ said Jeff Miller. “Our central city occupancy in September lags every competitive city we tracked.”

A study by Travel Portland shows a major problem affecting the economy right now, a lot of people don’t want to attend conferences in the city.

“Portland’s specific issues related to civil unrest and public safety concerns has exasperated the negative occurrences and declining attendances and group cancellations,” said Miller. “While the region struggles with solutions for local safety concerns, the impact on meetings and convention in future months and years remains evident, as Portland hotels continue to experience cancellations well into the future.”

“Well, it wasn’t uplifting, but I didn’t expect it to be,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Mayor Wheeler responded by saying the city isn’t quite ready for marketing.

“I’m not saying stop your marketing, but right now people don’t buy it,” he said. “What they want to see is results.”

“Safety, homelessness, livability, and economic recovery, that’s the good news, they’re related,” said Mayor Wheeler. “So, if our council keeps our focus on reducing unsanctioned homeless camps and finding humane alternatives and reducing the impact of homelessness on our community.”

With travel and tourism in jeopardy, Mayor Wheeler said they’re making changes and will continue to do so.

“We do agree as a council,” he said. “We’re unified on these priorities.”

“We will be allocating resources in the near term in this fall budget process towards the issues that you raised as being primary concerns.,” he continued.

Not all of the presentation was negative. Travel Portland also spoke on its effort to ensure minority-owned businesses are being highlighted often.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 





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Host Agency Reviews’ 2021 COVID Report Reveals Positive News for Travel Advisors


Host Agency Reviews (HAR) published its 2021 Travel Agent Income COVID Report, one in a series of eight travel advisor reports pulled from its annual survey.

Each year, HAR polls hosted travel advisors, independently-accredited travel advisors, franchisees and travel advisor employees to provide a critical data-driven overview of trends across four advisor segments.

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According to HAR, its COVID report, in particular, is the first of its kind to show the magnitude to which the coronavirus outbreak and ensuing pandemic disrupted the livelihoods of the travel advisor segments in 2020 and beyond.

The survey of 1,100 travel advisors revealed that 83 percent of advisors experienced a sales decrease in 2020.

Travel advisors were asked, “How much did your agency sales decrease in 2020?” The most common response was “100 percent.”

The report also found that 71 percent of agencies with employees before the pandemic downsized in 2020, and the percentage of agents who reported selling travel full time dropped from 60 percent to 25 percent during the coronavirus outbreak.

However, despite the downturn in business brought on by the pandemic, HAR’s survey found that a majority of career travel advisors remained committed to a career in selling travel.

Fifty-five percent of travel agents applied for an assistance program, and 95 percent of travel agents who applied received some type of aid. Eighty percent of advisors stayed open (40 percent with regular hours and 40 percent with limited hours).

Seventy-eight percent of advisors who stopped selling travel as a primary source of income during the pandemic plan to return to pre-COVID operation levels.

“The report shows what we all know: the pandemic has hit our industry incredibly hard. But what it also reveals is that travel advisors are sticking around and still love their jobs despite the challenges,” said Steph Lee, founder of Host Agency Reviews. “The findings also quantify the exact ways agencies were affected and how they dealt with the challenges of the pandemic.”





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IBM Report Reveals Potential Rebound for Travel and Event Spending, End of Traditional Shopping Season


ARMONK, N.Y., Oct. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — According to the findings of a new global consumer study released by IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Institute for Business Value (IBV), respondents are feeling slightly more festive for the 2021 holiday season than they were in 2020, and are reporting higher household budget allocation for travel and local activities. However, the survey suggests COVID-19 pandemic-related concerns are hindering the return of the traditional shopping season

The global survey* of more than 13,000 adult respondents found that while rising vaccination rates have eased restrictions in many places, many people are still carefully considering the safety of socializing, shopping, and traveling, with many global respondents continuing to make choices from a place of caution.

Almost three in four respondents said they’re concerned about new variants of COVID-19, three in five said they’re concerned about interacting with unvaccinated people outside of their families and more than half of those surveyed said they are worried about spending time with unvaccinated family and friends. Holiday shopping budgets are still 13% lower than they were in 2019; however, they did increase 30% year-over-year, and 87% of surveyed consumers say they may shop for the holidays this year, up six points compared to 2020.  

“The most effective industry leaders may be the ones who can meet the customer where, when and how they want,” said Jonathan Wright, Managing Partner & Global VP for Supply Chain Consulting, IBM Consulting. “Based on the survey findings, consumer respondents may continue to demand safety requirements for in-person activities, as well as modern-day fulfillment models such as contactless pick-up, same-day delivery; ship-from-store; buy online, pick up in-store, etc. Deploying artificial intelligence, intelligent automation and analytics across an enterprise can build a more adaptable business that can rapidly respond, pivot, and scale up or down, which may be a pivotal enabler when it comes to this holiday shopping season.”

Noteworthy survey findings include: 

An Earlier Start to the Holiday Shopping Season

Holiday shoppers are concerned about shortages, so to increase their chance of getting everything on their wish lists, more than one in four surveyed adults started shopping in September or earlier. Twice as many people surveyed plan to start in October as compared to last year and just under half of consumers surveyed plan to jumpstart holiday shopping before November, weeks earlier than the traditional “Black Friday” start date in the US. 

Online Shopping Still Reigns

While there is notable demand for local products and merchants, online shopping is likely to hold on to its leadership position this holiday season for those surveyed. This statistic is noteworthy when compared to February 2021 IBV data which found that 73% of surveyed shoppers wanted and expected to return to shopping malls and shopping centers after they were vaccinated. Instead, 43% of consumers surveyed say they plan to buy products online and just 36% surveyed say they plan to buy products in a physical store, citing the increasing concern about new COVID-19 outbreaks and variants.

Holiday Travel & Experiences/Activities could be on the Rebound for 2021

According to the survey, travel is predicted to account for a larger portion of the holiday budgets overall for those surveyed, rising to 8.2% from 5.7% in 2020. Though still lower than it was in 2019, almost 40% of respondents said they plan to travel to see family and friends over the holidays, up from 28% last year. Travel budgets are also on the rebound, up 43% over 2020, with international lodging and air travel budgets growing more than domestic air travel and lodging budgets for those surveyed. Local outings and activities, as well as dining out, may see the biggest lift in 2021 with consumers surveyed planning to spend 30% more in this area than they did last year.

Consumers Still Care About Sustainability

Environmentally friendly products may also have a leg up this holiday season. Four in five consumers surveyed say they may consider sustainability to some extent when they’re shopping for the holidays this year, which is consistent with last year’s survey results. This group plans to change their behavior by avoiding single-use plastics, shopping locally and buying more products locally or made locally.

*IBV Study Methodology
The IBM Institute for Business Value polled more than 13,000 adults across nine countries (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States), to better understand consumers’ COVID-19 pandemic-related concerns and the impact on how people plan to celebrate the holiday season – how it may affect their perspectives on a number of issues, including retail spending, traveling and future event attendance. The full study is available at: https://www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/institute-business-value/report/2021-holiday-shopping-travel-outlook.

About IBM Institute for Business Value 
The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) delivers trusted business insights from our position at the intersection of technology and business, combining experience from industry thinkers, leading academics, and subject matter professionals with global research and performance data. The IBV thought leadership portfolio includes research deep dives, benchmarking and performance comparisons, and data visualizations that support business decision making across regions, industries and technologies. Follow @IBMIBV on Twitter, and to receive the latest insights by email, visit: www.ibm.com/ibv.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Tricia Vuiton
IBM Communications
[email protected]

SOURCE IBM



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TMC bosses report encouraging business travel rebound


Travel management company Gray Dawes Travel says transactions have now recovered to more than half of pre-Covid volumes, with consistent growth in recent weeks.

Addressing delegates at last week’s ABTA Travel Convention, Gray Dawes CEO Suzanne Horner said: “In week 28 of our financial year in 2019 we did £3.4 million of business in a week. In week 28 of 2021, last week, we did £1.7 million. We’re back to 50 per cent.”

Horner also noted that the TMC had made more hotel bookings and generated more income from accommodation bookings in August and September this year than it had in 2019.

Meanwhile, Mark Colley, managing director of Sunways Business Travel, said he expects revenues to recover faster than booking volumes due to a move towards fewer but longer trips.

Colley said revenue growth is escalating quickly, with September 2021 at 40 per cent of 2019 levels and October already exceeding 40 per cent, with the TMC therefore increasing its Q4 projection from 45 per cent to 53 per cent.

“Travel is going to be much more considered. Corporate travel has changed indefinitely and those hour-long meetings in Zurich might now be done over Zoom and that makes perfect sense. There’s a positive impact for the environment,” said Colley.

He continued: “We are experiencing higher revenue-per-trip than 2019 levels due to extended trip durations and an increased demand for ancillary services, as well as higher airfares, driven largely by an increase in demand being met by still limited, albeit improving, capacity – a scenario we expect to continue into at least the first quarter of 2022.”

Speaking on the subject of ‘leadership in extraordinary times’, Gray Dawes’ Horner described how the TMC had gone into the pandemic. “We went from generating £200 million topline to £12 million and we had 250 staff and eight offices and a costbase that was now out of control. We had been flying high, life was good, we’d acquired companies, and we were signing new business.”

Ten years ago the business was turning over £30 million and losing £500,000 a year, said Horner, who has overseen nine acquisitions in the last four years.

“From £200 million sales in 2019 we were approaching £10 million profit and that’s what I promised my chairman year on year. But we all know what happened then.”

She described the 18 months since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic as “utter hell” but believes the industry must move on swiftly.

“We now need to forget about the past. When we came through the 2008-09 financial crisis, how many years did we spend saying ‘when are we going to get back to 2007 numbers?’? Are we going to spend the next five years asking ourselves when we’re going to get back to 2019 numbers? 2019 has gone and we now need to think about what we do with what we’ve got and move forwards.”

She continued: “We will make a profit this financial year. We made a loss last year – the first time I’ve made a loss in ten years. I will not make a loss again. It’s the most soul-destroying experience ever even though I couldn’t help it. It really did hurt. But we have a plan and we’ll execute it; we’re shifting to [preparing for] the mid and longer term. £10m profit… the target is huge, but we will get back to it. It will take a few years but we will do it.”



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Report: Southwest Reverses, to Retain Employees Seeking Vaccine Exemption


Reversing a position announced earlier this month, Southwest Airlines will not place on unpaid leave employees who have requested but not received by Dec. 8 an exemption to the carrier’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, according to a CNBC report

CNBC said Southwest confirmed its report, which indicated that Southwest SVP of operations and hospitality Steve Goldberg and VP and chief people officer Julie Weber on Oct. 15 sent employees a letter that said they could continue to work even if their request for a medical or religious exemption was not received by Dec. 8. Previously, the carrier had indicated that all such exemptions needed to be approved by that date for employees to avoid unpaid leave.

“This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these Employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case,” Goldberg and Weber wrote, according to CNBC, which indicated it had viewed the letter. Southwest did not immediately respond to a BTN request seeking confirmation.

United Airlines this year mandated all employees receive a Covid-19 vaccine, but wasn’t matched by other large U.S. carriers until the White House earlier this month noted they fall under the category of federal contractors, which are subject to the Biden administration’s vaccine-mandate executive orders

At that point, Southwest indicated it would require all employees by Dec. 8 to either be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or approved for a religious, disability or medical exemption, or else they would be placed on unpaid leave. Now, the company will continue to pay unvaccinated employees while it reviews their requests for exemptions, according to CNBC, and those employees will not be placed on leave. 

The move could help alleviate what could prove to be a chaotic Thanksgiving weekend travel experience, given the timing of other carriers’ vaccine mandates as well as that of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Like other civilian federal workers, TSA employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 22, subject to exemptions, the Monday of Thanksgiving week. TSA administrator David Pekoske last week told CNN that about 60 percent of employees were fully vaccinated. 

Executive Travel founder and chairman Steve Glenn in an email this week warned the airline and TSA vaccination deadlines could cause “the biggest air travel mess in history during Thanksgiving weekend,” one that could “reverberate for days, weeks or even months.”

Noting the widespread Southwest delays and cancellations earlier this month, Glenn suggested several ways to mitigate potential travel problem should the vaccine mandates remain, including arriving at the airport at least three hours prior to departure, making backup reservations or simply not flying. “I can’t believe I am saying this,” Glenn wrote, “but you might want to consider simply staying home for the Thanksgiving holiday.”



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