By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
It may not always feel like it, but the United States is seeing one of the longest periods of economic expansion in history, according to best-selling author and renowned speaker Shawn DuBravac. DuBravac will be giving a keynote presentation at HSMAI’s Marketing Strategy Conference in New York City on January 22, where he will offer predictions for the coming year and insights on the economy.
DuBravac is also the president and founder of Astra Insights, which provides consulting, research, and advisory services on topics such as digital transformation, technological change, and business model disruption. A widely sought after speaker due to his background in the fields of finance, technology, and economics, who presented at HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference in Minneapolis last June, DuBravac recently spoke to HSMAI about what to expect from his upcoming presentation.
What is your presentation going to be about?
Basically, it’s going to be an update on the economy and how that retaliates to the hospitality industry. It’s the start of the new decade, and we’re starting out on solid footing, in one of the most optimistic periods in our history. There are some uncertainties that weigh on businesses, such as trade tensions, that we are going to discuss, but overall the consumer looks pretty good in a number of ways. The global concerns are there, but domestically, things continue to move in a positive direction.
You gave a similar presentation at ROC last June. How will this one be different?
Essentially it will be an updated version of that presentation, taking into account all that has happened since then that affects the economy. In the last six months, we’ve seen uncertainties rise a bit because of global concerns. We have uncertainties in the Middle East that have particularly been exacerbated in the past month, and trade concerns that have also been exacerbated.
How will this help marketing professionals specifically?
What happens in the underlying economy is going to drive the decisions consumers are making and how freely they make those decisions to spend. Paying close attention can help marketers understand the environment in which they are operating and how their message might resonate with individuals.
As marketers and hospitality look to expand their business and look to which households are ripe to spend, they need to keep in mind that we’re seeing things grow broadly across all households, not just high-income households. Aggregated household net worth is up 9.5 percent from the first three quarters of last year, and good stock market increases will likely help accelerate that even further. This puts the U.S. consumer in a strong position to take advantage of the hospitality services.
However, it’s clear there are uncertainties, so when marketers are looking to allocate budget, they need to have a firm understanding of broad themes in the economy
What personally interests you most about this topic?
If you look broadly at the economy, consumers are driven by the economic underpinning of the country and their individual households. It ends up dictating a lot of what consumers can do. We are in the midst of (six months ago when I was at ROC, we were on the cusp of) the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history. It’s important to know all of the information to make informed decisions and have a good understanding of the economy as a whole.