'Iraqwarphobia' will plague the travel industry, and the fall-out most likely hit the spa industry as well. '2003 will be a hard year for travel,' predicts Peter Yesawich, managing partner of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell. "Iraqwarphobia" a term defined by Yesawich as "generalized anxiety about traveling as a function of what is happening half a world away,' will affect the entire hospitality industry, lowering occupancy rates and decreasing travel.

Yesawich sees a number of trends resulting from the war, starting with slow-down in international travel. 'We're now seeing a migration toward destinations that are closer to home," Yesawich told Hotel Business. "On the other side of the business, which is primarily the commercial and corporate end, it's causing corporate meeting planners to postpone decisions about booking meetings or to even cancel them altogether," Yesawich said.

The combination of a sluggish economy and war is the on-two punch that is throwing the spa indsutry for a loop. "When you put the two factors together, Iraq and the slow economy, says Yesawich, 'it's really double jeopardy for the hospitality industry right now," he said.

"Hoteliers have to be shrewd and do a lot of marketing to take advantage of the travel that still exists," he said. Be prepared to offer promotional rates, and do clever things to entice previous visitors back again," Yesawich noted. "In essence what I'm saying is that conventional marketing isn't going to work anymore. To get your fair share you have to work for it."