The "cautious optimism" we've heard about all year seems a thing of the past. I wouldn't exactly call the latest vibe the opposite of that—would that be reckless pessimism?—but a more realistic and somber attitude seems to be prevailing. At least that was the feel at the IH/M&R show in New York City this week.
From the opening CEO Leadership Panel on Saturday all the way to the those walking the aisles of the expo portion of the event, the mood felt a little downcast. No longer was "cautious optimism" the refrain. Just about everyone admitted things weren't great, in some cases, not good at all, even downright bad. Yes, we're in the midst of a down cycle. The good—the optimism we're left with—is business will bounce back and probably better than ever. We're in for some tough times, another 12-18 months was the prevailing wisdom, but things will turnaround much quicker.
The industry vets who've been through this before sounded confident in that belief. The fundamentals of the industry remain strong and travel will always be at the core of this country's people. When the economy turns around, theindustry will be perched to reap the rewards once again.