Here it comes….part 2 of my travel industry predictions for 2017. Last week I provided you with 15 of my top predictions (CLICK HERE to see them). Today here comes 15 more. During the past fourteen years 74% of my predictions have come true! Here’s more of what I think will happen in 2017 (part 2 of 4).
#16 – Hertz and Avis Car Rental Companies will start offering “non-refundable” and “No-show” fees –
For the last 5 years I have been predicting that car rental companies will start charging a “no-show” fee if you did not show up for your car rental. Avis and Hertz once again are foaming at the mouth to kick this idea off by charging this fee to vacation renters. Enterprise/National which is the largest car rental company has put the brakes on the idea for the last 5 years but their competitors see so much revenue with these new fees that they will go ahead and launch these new fees in 2017 regardless if National says “No”.
#17 – It will take 3 months to get your passport renewed in 2017 –
In 2008 the U.S. Government started requiring passports for U.S. Citizens to travel to Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico. This caused millions of people to get passports. Passports expire in ten years and many countries do not allow travel there if you have less than 6 months left on your passport. If you do the math this means there will be a massive flood of passport renewals in 2017 and I am not confident that the government can keep up. What today might take 3 weeks for a passport renewal will balloon to 10 or 12 weeks as we move deeper into 2017.
#18 – Don’t fly Frontier, Spirit, or Allegiant during the holidays or risk being stranded for 4 days or more –
Flying low-cost airlines during the busy holiday travel season is just not smart as a simple weather event, cancelation or mechanical problem can leave you stranded for days. During holiday travel windows (one week around each holiday) the planes are all 100% full. This means that if a low cost airline has a weather or mechanical problem there is no alternative flight to put you on as these airlines do not reciprocate with other airlines to provide alternate flights for stranded passengers.
#19 – Uber prices will increase dramatically in 2017 –
I am a big supporter and user of Uber, however if you look under the hood of their business model they are hemorrhaging in billions of dollars of losses and will be forced to fine tune their pricing structure to address the large losses. My best guess is they will have to dramatically increase their prices by 10% to 20% in 2017 to slow the hemorrhaging.
#20 – European borders will close this spring in response to terror attacks –
One of the great benefits of the European Union was the opening of borders between countries for the easy flow of people between countries. That will end in 2017 as many E.U. Citizens are saying they want to secure their borders to prevent terrorist attacks. In 2017 you will no longer be able to simply drive throughout Europe as country after country will quickly close their borders and require a passport to enter each country. This will be similar to how it was to travel in Europe before the European Union.
#21 – Frequent flyer tickets are no longer free-
The airlines sure know how to screw up a good thing. Some major foreign flagged international airlines (i.e. British Airways, Lufthansa) are now charging fuel surcharges and other fees to redeem frequent flyer miles for what used to be free tickets. Recently one airline charged me $1000 to redeem a (free) ticket to Europe. The Big Four domestic airlines do add some moderate fees for frequent flyer ticket redemption but they are usually less than $50.
#22 – The $59 one way domestic airfare is coming back in 2017 –
Domestic airfares have been sky high for the past 4 years as airlines consolidated and eliminated the competition. Airfares got so high that some of the low-fare airlines like Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant have expanded dramatically and now the major airlines (American, Delta and United) want to protect their turf. The big boys are doing that by lowering their fares as the fuel prices have moderated and ancillary fees fill their coffers.
#23 – Ireland is my Blue Light Special in 2017 –
Years ago I remember K-mart having a blue light special for the best deals in the store. The exchange rate for the euro has fallen to the lowest level in 9 years and some of the best travel bargains of the year will be found in Europe. Added to the great prices in Europe is the fact that Ireland is trying to climb out of an economic recession. Travel to Ireland is my blue light special in 2017.
#24 – The Euro to US Dollar (USD) exchange rate will fall under parity in 2017 –
The experiment of a single currency called the Euro for the European Union was launched in 1999. Just after launch the currency dropped below parity with the USD but then rose for almost a decade to a high of $1.49 in 2008. The last 8 years have been a bummer for the Euro as it has fallen like a rock to around $1.05 today. In 2017 I am predicting that Euro will be worth less than the dollar.
#25 – Bundled airline fees in 2016 are Unbundled in 2017 –
The airlines rolled out a plethora of new fees in the past five years which started with luggage fees, followed by seat upgrades, priority boarding, Wi-Fi, lounge passes, and even mileage enhancers. In 2016 we saw the airline packaging and bundling of these enhanced offerings so that passengers could get discounts by adding multiple ancillaries together such as economy Plus seating, Club Airport lounge access, extra bonus miles and priority boarding all for one bundled fee for hundreds of dollars more. In 2017 airlines will move back to ala carte pricing of fees as the bundling just never took off.
#28 – More companies will allow their travelers to pay $100 or more for a direct flight –
Missing a connecting flight in 2017 could keep you stranded in an airport for up to four days. Once again, with airlines flying their planes 90% full means they only have a few seats available if a flight is cancelled or delayed. Add a major storm into the mix and missing your connecting flight in 2017 might mean you are sitting in the airport waitlisted for the next available seat, which might be two to four days later. This is a giant reason why companies in 2017 will relax their travel policies and allow their business travelers to spend $100 or more for the convenience of direct flights.
#29 – Using the right credit cards can let most people fly free each year –
I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire credit card and earned 100,000 free miles that I can transfer to United or British Airways. That’s good for 2 or 4 domestic round-trip tickets or if I add another 25,000 miles to my United account I can have 125,000 miles which is enough for 2 free international coach tickets to Europe or 1 free business class ticket if I am flexible. This Chase Visa card costs $450 annually but with it comes $300 in travel credit, free airport lounge access and free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Today most travelers won’t earn enough airline miles to earn a free ticket every 5 years. Credit card points are where the action is today.
#30 – Get ready for an even bigger avalanche of emails from the airlines in 2017 –
Airlines are going to bomb you with email marketing in 2017. The minute you make your reservation you will receive offers for everything from seat upgrades to prepaid baggage fees and a host of ancillary products prior to your upcoming flights. Soon you will get cruise offers, etc. Great. All I need is more email in my inbox!
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