For Rent By Owners - Free Rental Directory

September 2004 newsletter

For previous editions of this newsletter see below.

  • Canadian travel news
    International travel figures cause for optimism
    Domestic stats show small increase
    Canadian RevPAR
    Forecast for 2005
  • International travel news
    U.S. lodging survey
    Tourism notes
  • Internet info New 'gateway' site drives traffic
    Travel websites "take 5% of all online visits"
    Visitor traffic
  • Advice for the property owner
    Speed up your web site

Canadian travel news

International travel figures cause for optimism
After declines experienced at the beginning of the year, overnight international travel to Canada continued to rebound in June, recording its fourth straight monthly increase. Moreover, for the first time since October 2002, the rate of growth of Canadian outbound travel was lower than that of inbound travel.

Results published by Statistics Canada indicate that the total international overnight travel to Canada increased 12.8% compared to June 2003. Although these figures offer encouragement that the worst of the recent past poor performance is over, these levels are still 5.8% below the number of international arrivals experienced for the same month in 2002.
In June 2004, close to 1.8 million travellers from the U.S. visited Canada, an 8.2% increase when compared to the same month last year. The continued upward trend in June was noted in both non-auto travel (10.3%), and auto travel (6.9%). U.S. travel for the January to June period increased by 6.5% over 2003, but still 8.2% below 2002 levels.
Arrivals from overseas destinations increased by 34.0% compared to June 2003. All overseas regions posted increases when compared with the same month last year: Asia-Pacific (69.5%), South America (27.2%), Europe (21.8%) and North America other than the U.S. (164%). Year-to-date overnight overseas volume was up 20.3% over 2003, reaching more than 1.6 million trips. This is the third highest travel volume from overseas in the last five years.

Domestic stats show small increase
According to Statistics Canada's latest release on domestic travel Canadians travelling within Canada increased 1.7% to 35.2 million trips in the first quarter of 2004 compared with the first quarter of 2003. However, despite this overall increase the number of domestic trips taken in the first quarter was 5.4% less than the 7-year high of 37.2 million trips recorded in the first quarter of 2002.
Overall, domestic trips accounted for 84% of the 41.8 million trips taken in Canada in the first quarter of 2004, compared with 83% for the same quarter a year earlier.
The 1.7% gain in domestic travel during the first quarter of 2004 was a result of increases in pleasure trips (+5.7%) and trips made to visit friends or relatives (+4.7%). Together these two categories represented 71% of all domestic trips reported in the first quarter of 2004. Meanwhile, business and convention travel declined 10.1% to 4.8 million trips compared with the first quarter of 2003.

Canadian RevPAR
Latest lodging report (week ending August 28) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).

Province RevPAR* Chg from 2003
Alberta $89.73 4.1%
British Columbia $105.00 11.4%
Manitoba $56.78 3.5%
New Brunswick $86.04 8.0%
Newfoundland $83.93 -10.6%
Ontario $88.31 15.9%
P.E.I. $92.67 16.0%
Quebec $112.93 11.3%
Saskatchewan $53.15 6.1%
Canada $78.57 8.3%

*RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.

Forecast for 2005
The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) has released a synopsis of a number of different forecasts for Canada in 2005. Overall, HAC's president Tony Pollard says the outlook for 2005 is "a slow, tentative recovery.'' He notes: "We have witnessed several months of positive economic growth and up to 3.5% is predicted for next year. Inflation, interest rates and unemployment remain low, but oil, geopolitics and global economics impact us all."
Says Pollard: "We are a long way from the heady days of the late 1990s and 2000, but with RevPAR growth of 3% predicted for 2005, we are moving in the right direction."

Planning a trip to Quebec?
Check out Quebec Vacation Properties

International travel news

U.S. lodging survey
The American Hotel & Lodging Association has recently released its 2004 Lodging Survey. Among the findings, the survey revealed the following:

  • The percentage of hotels offering cable or satellite television has increased from 69% in 1998 to 98% in 2004. Only 8% of respondents indicated they feature DVD players in their guestrooms, while closed caption television is available in 77% of guestrooms.
  • Voice mail is one of the fastest growing in-room amenities, growing from 4% in 1990 to more than 78% in 2004.
  • Linen/towel reuse programs continue to grow in popularity, rising from 14% in 1994 to 57% in 2004.
  • Liquid soap dispensers are the only in-room amenity to register a decrease, dropping from 10% in 1998 to 6% in 2004.
  • High-speed Internet access rocketed from 7% in 1998 to 50% in 2004

Tourism notes

  • The U.S. lodging industry posted gains in occupancy, average daily room rate and revenue per available room (RevPAR) in the week ended Aug. 21 vs. the comparable week last year. Average occupancy was 69.4%, up 4.4%; average daily rate was US$85.70, up 4.1%; and RevPAR was US$59.51, up 8.7%.
  • France topped the list of most visited countries last year, at 75 million visitors, according to World Tourism statistics. That number, however, was down 2% from 2002. Next were Spain, the United States and Italy, all of which reported increases. The U.S. growth of 3.6% led the pack.
    Worldwide, tourism receipts were $514 billion, up from $474 billion in 2002.

Internet info

New 'gateway' site drives traffic
A new "gateway" sister site - For Rent By Owner in Canada (, will serve to drive more visitor traffic to the main holiday homes.canada web site.
The use of content-rich 'gateway' sites are a recognized method of improving traffic from the major search engines. Property owners who presently list with will automatically benefit from the increased flow of traffic through - listing in one is the same as listing in both.

Travel websites "take 5% of all online visits"
Visits to travel-related websites represented 5% of all online visits - one in 20 - in July, compared with one in 25 in January. The statistics compiled by European based Hitwise demonstrate continued strong growth in traffic to travel sites. Hitwise data further reveals that average session duration on a travel website has also increased in the last 2 months, up from 5 minutes and 50 seconds in June to 6 minutes and 7 seconds in August.

Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada web site for the month of August 2004:
Total 'hits' for the month = 121,053 hits (3,904 per day) Total 'unique visits' for the month = 9,097 (293 per day) Visitors came from 76 countries. For more information, including an independent audit of our site performance, and to view the countries of origin for visitors click here.

Advice for the property owner

Speed up your web site
No one likes pages that take a long time to load. Your website visitor makes decisions in seconds and it won't take him long to press the back button or type another address to access other related websites. So make sure that your site loads fast. The possible reasons for long loading times are:

  • Use of large and/or multiple graphics, java applets, hit counters, flash programs or ad banners.
  • Inappropriate use of tables, like placing the entire page in a table.
  • Placing too much information (more than 50K) on one page.
  • Use of free or inferior hosting services resulting in slow data transfer.
  • Use of bad or junk html codes.

Every web designer has been guilty of creating bloated pages. Each component by itself may not make that much of a difference. But think about what happens when you combine two or more on a single page!
The home page sets the tone for the rest of the site so be sure it has a fast and reliable download. More advice?

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