According to the U.S. Travel Association, the total number of U.S. domestic trips taken in 2012 is expected to increase by 1.8 percent to 2.05 billion.  However, due to decreasing business confidence related to the fiscal cliff issue being dealt with by Congress, the pace will slow down to 1.1 percent.

The critical business travel sector will increase 0.9 percent in 2013, compared with 1.3 percent growth expected for this year. In addition, according to U.S. Travel Association, the amount of leisure trips will go up in 2013 by 1.2 percent to 1.59 billion in comparison with the 2 percent growth projected for this year.

These sobering numbers will most likely mean that competition will increase among hospitality providers.  Many hotels are building, expanding and renovating, and need to be extremely strategic in every decision they make, especially when it comes to technological innovations that can increase guest loyalty and return rates. This is the time for hoteliers to invest in new technologies – from innovative CRM solutions to new mobile and location-based apps.

There is one piece of good news. With the assumption that the European economies are going to pick up a little momentum in 2013, inbound international visitors to the U.S will increase.

The U.S. Travel Association expects inbound travel to the U.S. to increase by 4 percent in 2013, in comparison with 3.8 percent growth in 2012.  In addition, in 2012, 14.6 percent of all spending will come from international travelers, whereas in 2013, more than 15 percent of travel spending will come from the international market.

With competition increasing in 2013, hospitality providers are actually presented with the opportunity to develop innovations that provide true differentiation, enhance the guest experience, and ultimately aid in revenue generation.