TAW Travel Predictions for 2011

From the likely to the zany, TravelAge West editors share their travel predictions for the year ahead By: The TravelAge West staff
TAW Travel Predictions for 2011 // © 2010 Deborah Dimond
TAW Travel Predictions for 2011 // © 2010 Deborah Dimond

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As another year comes to a close, the editors of TravelAge West are looking ahead, speculating what the industry can expect to see in the upcoming year. Recently, the staff put their heads together to come up with travel predictions for 2011 and beyond. Some predictions were based on research, intuition and interviews with experts in the trade, while others were based on, well, nothing at all, really. What follows is a list, albeit random, of our guesses about travel in 2011.

•    International travel to exotic locales will increase next year, adding to the popularity of escorted tours or packaged FIT travel.

•    More travelers will specifically seek culinary-themed vacations next year — and more will be signing up for Weight Watchers shortly thereafter

•    Younger independent travelers will discover river cruising and lower the demographics.  

•    Airlines will initiate “membership” fees that will include better seating options, advanced boarding, waivers on all fees and more. For everyone else, fees will continue to rise, including baggage fees, wireless fees, and charges for in-flight entertainment.

•    Biofuel will become a realistic choice in the airline industry. Likewise, car rental companies will start offering more electric cars.

•    Travel to Alberta, Canada, in particular Southern Alberta, will increase by leaps and bounds next year.

•    Although in-flight Wi-Fi will be standard on most airlines by the end of 2011, the safety of cell phone and Wi-Fi usage will continue to be a hotly debated issue.

•    Hot words for 2011 will include: “mobile,” “experiential,” “galactic.”

•    Travel agents will realize that more companies are competing for their valued clients and will improve their marketing and client retention programs.

•    Passengers will be able to text the flight crew their onboard requests.

•    Rising resort fees will soon include pillows, bed sheets, soaps and toilet paper.

•    Attention will turn to advanced bookings for space travel.

•    The trend toward name brands aboard cruise ships will continue, particularly in shopping and in entertainment, which will be one of the most important competitive aspects of cruising since it can affect all ships, new and established.  

•    The media will finally grow tired of the term “staycation” and it will disappear for good.

•    As competition among resort properties increase, resorts will significantly expand the services of their on-site butlers, and more clients will begin to request these services.

•    All-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean will try to cast a wider net by lowering vacation costs.

•    The growth in travel expected to happen as a result of baby boomers retiring will finally become a major force in the industry.

•    As flights continue their efforts to “lighten up,” airlines will calculate fuel loads on tighter margins, and more flights will have to make forced landings short of their destination in order to refuel.

•    These unscheduled landings will wreak new havoc on Airport Tarmac Rules.

•    American river cruising will make a comeback, particularly on the Mississippi.  

•    People will start putting photos of their TSA body scans on their Facebook page.
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