5 Expert Travel Predictions

The deals will keep coming has asked a number of travel luminaries to look into their suitcases and share predictions on what we can expect in 2010. The overall consensus is that prices will remain low. We will see fewer travel companies as mergers shrink the travel gene pool to a handful of brands. And a number of non-traditional vacation destinations will be more accessible.

The Dollars & Sense Of Travel
Competition at the upper end of the market will continue, keeping lead-in prices low. Which means once again consumers can take advantage of great value for plush holidays. Travellers across all demographics are looking for quality vacation experiences — the best resorts, cruise ships and unique but affordable destinations at discounted prices.

Many non-traditional destinations have invested significantly in their tourism infrastructure. Countries such as Vietnam, Brazil, India, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Costa Rica are now being offered by many wholesale tour operators.

On the airline front, as the world economies recover, fuel prices will rise putting pressure on carriers to raise fares; this will be difficult because travel markets remain weak. In order to remain competitive, the airlines will need to continue to reduce costs and improve efficiencies through mergers, joint ventures and code share flights.

Choosy Choices
A greater emphasis on valuing one’s vacation time as therapeutic and necessary is creating an appetite for shorter mini-breaks and weekend getaways. This combined with a rebounding economy and stronger dollar will result in an increase in affordable vacation options to destinations 1-3 hours away. Nassau for lunch?

More ‘niche’ travel experiences will be available to a growing number of consumers looking beyond ‘sun and sand’. Culture, history, food and wine interests are leading to more adventurous travel options being more readily available.

Last, but certainly not least, we will continue to see some amazing deals on all-inclusive resort packages.

The Power Of The Brand
As the on-line world becomes ever more seductive, more and more travel searchers will fall prey to the lure of the dominant travel brands. And, since the majority of consumers tend to believe that buying on-line with no assistance will mean saving money, consumers who are ill versed in the broad variety of product available in cyberspace will be channelled to the power brands.

As an analogy… think Amazon… the vast majority of folks looking on-line for a book head straight for – simple branding power.

The inquisitive consumer who has the time and inclination to search more deeply can now find an ever more wonderful breadth of travel product offers online. But, the long range fallout is likely to be the inevitable decline in the choice of product for those other than the most adventurous and the inevitable rise in price as the breadth of supply diminishes.

Cruising’s No Bruising
The standards continue to go up, the diversity of the onboard offerings is amazing and overall, cruising continues to be a fabulous experience for a terrific price.

Many cruise lines are redefining their onboard experience and making it more personalized. Wellness, spa lifestyle, vitality and vigor are key elements that several lines are intending to explore in 2010 as the huge baby boomer demographic continues to age, with the younger sector of this group entering their mid 40’s. Activities for all ages are the focus, with family vacations becoming increasingly popular – especially multi generational travel.

Savvy shoppers who want to try a luxury cruise will find the values undeniably appealing in 2010 with many inclusive offers including return air fare included in the rates on certain ships and sailings.

The destinations are also taking on renewed importance. Some cruise lines are adding intriguing ports of call and venturing further afield as well as spending more time in key ports.

Note: If you want to experience Alaska, go in 2010 as by the time the season hits for 2011, there will be a lot less ships sailing the Alaskan waters and likely prices will rise due to lack of capacity.

Ya’ll Keep Comin’
The Canadian dollar is expected to surpass $1.10 against the U.S. dollar early in 2010 and stay relatively high. This will drive record traffic south of the border – exports of goods and services as well as travellers. With a strong dollar and a cold winter, Canadians will be escaping south in droves.

Regarding the latest security measures for travel to the U.S., the flurry of insanity will likely pass fairly quickly and although people feel inconvenienced, they will not change their plans. A strong dollar and the cold outweigh the extra time and frustration.

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