Travel, both domestic and global, will see some curious developments in the coming year; we anticipate that airline costs will rise, in spite of the expected deeper discounts.
Airlines see a virtue in making airfares look low, while delivering "great value". This seeming paradox reflects the greater focus airlines will have on fees. Having discovered this gold mine, airlines will look for ways to expand this unregulated profit center.
By the way, American and Southwest will reduce their numbers of flights, while joining all the airlines in finding perquisites and new ways to give consumers opportunities to upgrade---for a price, of course. We also expect airlines to continue their trend in embracing technology and finding ways to make their mobile sites friendlier to passengers who want to do business or print boarding passes on their mobile devices.
Consumers will continue to look for high value everywhere, gravitating towards discounted trips, packaging airfare, hotels, car rentals, and sometimes even food and entertainment. The all-inclusive resorts will experience increased demand, as will cruise lines, because the prices from both types of hoteliers will seem like (and often will be) excellent bargains.
The caveat is that the cruise industry has expanded very fast with its megaships (see previous Herman Trend Alert, exponentially increasing the number of staterooms to be filled on an expanded number of voyages. Thus, for passengers willing to wait until the last minute and willing to take whatever cabins are left, there will be many cruise bargains.
Not only is voluntourism up, but this new year we will see something new: "athletic voluntourism". People are volunteering to work at marathons and Special Olympics around the world, combining seeing the world with "making a difference".
Another ground-breaking development we are seeing is the growth of affluent adventure trips to the Ends of the Earth, including the South Pole ($45,500 to $65,000 per person), the Mount Everest Base Camp (inclusive about $19,000 per person), and other remote locations.
More pet owners will take their pets along, when they travel. According to PetRelocation.com, almost one-third of pet owners planned to take their pets outside of the United States last year.
All-in all, it will be another good year to travel, if you're willing to deal with the security challenges.
* Special thanks to David Wilkening of TravelMole.com for much of the background material for this Herman Trend Alert.© Copyright 1998-2011 by The Herman Group of Companies, Inc., all rights reserved. From 'The Herman Trend Alert,' by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com
The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group of Companies, Inc.