September 24, 2014 1:40 am
1. Rates and occupancy levels will be higher, especially in major cities and upscale hotels, due to the recovering economy. Do your research to find deals on higher-end hotels, and of course book early.
2. Travelers going to Europe will increase as Americans start spending more again on travel, and inter-Europe travel also rises. Look at traveling to Europe during the off seasons of 2015 for the best deals.
3. The one trend that doesn't change is booking in advance. Promotions to encourage early bookings will grow. Hotels use these to sell rooms by offering deals that are valid for just a few hours, typically for stays anytime.
4. Specialty vacations will continue to increase and become much more mainstream. Consumers are looking to blend their interests and activities with their travels, and vacations that focus on the environment, sports, or spa/yoga/health will see big growth in 2015.
5. Similarly to other industries, companies will find ways to make travel and travel offers more personalized for individuals. Vendors in 2015 will try to match their offers to consumers' specific needs and wants, which creates a win-win where travelers are more likely to enjoy their trips, and vendors make more sales.
6. There will be more ways to book travel in 2015, including unpublished rate programs.
7. From purchasing rooms and airfare to mobile-based check-ins, the industry will shift to allow consumers to be more in charge. This means mobile functions as well as automation, such as replacing room service with 24/7 grab-and-go options and self-luggage check in.
8. Mobile dominates travel. Airlines and hotel operators will have to accommodate the desires of mobile travelers who expect to be able to complete bookings through apps, pull boarding passes, and perform nearly any other function. Easier access to charging will also need to be addressed.
9. Value will be a focus for leisure travelers. Consumers always want to feel like they are receiving good value for their money. This doesn't always mean rock bottom pricing, but includes other aspects such as location, amenities, convenience and more.
10. A trend that combines the need for mobile-friendly travel with "value" is for hotels to offer free (and fast) Wi-Fi. Travelers simply expect to be connected whenever they are at a hotel, and free Wi-Fi can be more important than any other amenity. It's one of the most requested hotel perks, and hotel review sites are filled with notes about Wi-Fi (or lack thereof).
Published with permission from RISMedia.