Here it comes….part 4 of my travel industry predictions for 2018.

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For the last three weeks, I provided you with 45 of my top predictions. Today here comes 15 more (plus 5 bonus predictions!). During the past fourteen years, 73% of my predictions have come true! Here’s the rest of what I think will happen in 2018 (part 4 of 4). CLICK HERE to see my previous 45 predictions for 2018. 

#46 – It will be cheaper to cruise than to stay in assisted living –

You do the math. A seven-day cruise costs as low as $75 a day. Living in an assisted living center is over $100 a day. I can’t wait to retire!

#47 – The assistant manager at McDonald’s will still have a higher salary than the co-pilot of that regional jet you fly on this afternoon –

Starting pay for pilots for some regional airlines start as low as $27,000 a year (plus a $10,000 signing bonus). This means that the people in charge of the life and safety of 50 people on a jet plane are in some cases being paid less than those asking if you want to super-size your french fries. The good news is that airlines have added a lot of bonuses for new pilots and now some can earn up to $60-$70,000 if they stay for one year. That is double the pay from 5 years ago. CLICK HERE for a good article.

#48 – United Airlines will have the best frequent flyer program in 2018 , Delta the worst –

I have been a big fan of United’s MileagePlus program for many years for its ease of use and availability of seats. Delta Airlines is doing many things extremely well on the customer service side of the business, however, their frequent flyer program is getting worse as they continue to devalue their miles. I think their planes are so full they simply don’t have any extra seats to provide their frequent flyer members.

#49 – Southwest Airlines’ credit card will offer free companion tickets when you fly in 2018 –

One of the best values in 2018 will continue to be the Companion Pass offered by Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier credit card. This program is the best thing since apple pie. This program works only for those who charge at least $110,000 on their credit card in one year or fly 100 one-way flights on Southwest. One easy way to earn 110,000 qualifying miles fast is to simply apply for two new Southwest Credit cards. (CLICK HERE to find out more) So if you travel a lot or charge a lot for your business this card may provide you with two-for-one tickets as you fly into the sunset.

#50 – Businesses will prevent travelers from using Airbnb in 2018 –

Companies will find out there is a giant liability to having their travelers staying in a shared housing environment. Security and safety are becoming a top priority for business travelers and Airbnb, while very popular for vacation travelers, is an explosive liability for companies who are liable for the safety and security of their travelers when traveling for business.

#51 – The airlines will start charging for “Emotional Baggage” in 2018 –

This is my attempt at humor.  Ironically all the charges and fees charged by the airlines have gotten so outrageous that crazy ideas like this might not surprise some people.

#52 – Travel industry will move focus from Millennials to Gen X –

The travel industry will finally transition their focus on what one professor (not me!) called, high maintenance, debt-burdened,  free-wheeling and lackadaisical Millennials (Those born 1981 to 2006) and start to refocus on Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1981). Gen X occupies a massive 60 % of the current workforce. They possess an entrepreneurial spirit, a do-it-yourself attitude, and in contrast to the generations before them, embrace change in the workplace. They are career-oriented but place a strong emphasis on family time and strive for a good work-life balance. And let’s face it; baby boomers are still the sweet spot for the next 10 years for the travel industry as they hold over 70% of the U.S. disposable income. Why do all the marketing folks ignore the giant piece of the pie of the boomers and GenX who make up over 85% of the spending power to focus on Gen Y who won’t power our economy for the next 20 years?

#53 – Business travelers will move back to the Marriott from the Hampton Inn –

Business travelers across the globe were told in 2010 that they would lower their travel costs by using less costly hotels. This means they traded the $150 a night Marriott and stayed at the $100 Hampton Inn in 2010. As the economy improves in 2018 many businesses once again will take their eyes off of travel expenses and start allowing business travelers to step up one star in hotel stays (from 3-star rated hotels to 4-star). As the economy continues to improve travel policies will be loosened once more and business travelers will be allowed to stay at 4-star hotels.

#54 – The number one item left behind at the hotel lost and found will be your cell phone charger –

I think we need to petition the phone companies to build a universal charger so we could use all the lost chargers at the hotels and we would never have to buy another charger again.

#55 – Seatback video screens will be eliminated from airplanes in coach class –

The airlines want to remove the expense of these screens so they will rapidly remove them as they upgrade their planes. They argue that most people bring along an iPad or laptop they can use on the airplane WI-FI to watch the entertainment channels on the airline mobile app.

#56 – All-Inclusive resorts will be launched in Hawaii and the U.S. – 

Twenty years ago resorts in Jamaica, the Caribbean and Mexico were struggling to stay alive and compete with Hawaii as the tropical destination of choice so they launched the concept of an all-inclusive resort where people could leave their wallets in the room safe and enjoy food, drink and fun that was included in their hotel tariff. Now more and more resorts are jumping on the all-inclusive rate. Even luxury 5-star resorts are now offering this preferred service. For the last 6 years, I have been predicting that some hotels in the U.S. and specifically Hawaii will break the mold and offer all-inclusive pricing. In 2018 it will finally happen. (I may have to buy a hotel in Florida to make it happen)

#57 – Car rental taxes can add up to 60% to the cost of renting a car –

I know when you read this many of you will shake your heads in disgust. Local city governments are becoming addicted to taxing the new traveler coming to town.

#58 – Beware of valet parking costs in 2018 –

The hotels have figured out they can make a bunch of money parking cars for people who want to enjoy the convenience of valet parking. You can easily pay $75 a day to park your car in a big city like New York or San Francisco. This is another reason many people use Uber or Lyft instead of renting a car in big cities.

#59 – Cruise lines are adding hidden fees left and right –

It used to be that when you checked in on a cruise you could leave your wallet in the safe. Not anymore. The cruise lines all seem to be adding a chapter from the airlines and adding more and more fees on top of what you pay for your cruise. If you want to eat in a certain restaurant on the ship they add fees. Cruising is not all-inclusive anymore.

#60 – Five cities will be designated as “taxi or Uber only” cities for business travelers –

Corporate travel departments are getting smart and encouraging travelers to consider taking a taxi or Uber instead of renting a car in some large US cities. The cost of renting a car including tax and fees and parking and gas can often run as much as $100 a day in major metropolitan cities. Renting a car in Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Newark, N.J. is often a big mistake and corporate travel departments will now start flagging travelers to avoid renting cars in these cities.

Bonus #61 – Airports become great shopping and entertainment centers and are actually fun to hang out in 2018 –

International airports around the globe were the first to realize that travelers often have several hours to kill waiting for flights in airports. Some of my favorite shopping ironically is found in many airports throughout Europe and the globe. Often I am too busy with business to go shopping and all the new airports and stores make it a fun experience when traveling. Airport spas will invade U.S. hub airports this year offering easy massages and facials. Expect more companies to step in with movie theaters, pools, upscale shopping, karaoke, and even amusement parks to keep the delayed masses from rioting. One of my favorite airports/shopping malls is Copenhagen.

Bonus #62 – Travel agents are back in vogue –

Having a great travel agent makes a trip easy and fun, plus saves time and money. Travelers are returning in droves to travel agents as they want someone to coach them to make sure their travels are worry-free. Thanks so much for your business these past years.

Bonus #63 – Americans continue to be the best travelers in the world –

Don’t let anyone tell you that people hate American travelers. Everywhere I go people tell me that Americans are the best travelers in the world. They are friendly, easy going, law-abiding, good spenders and great tippers. Even on a recent trip to Paris, I found that the French love Americans.

Bonus #64 – Executive Travel will celebrate its 32nd year anniversary in 2018 –

Thanks to all our customers, employees and friends who have helped make this happen.

Bonus #65 – Nebraska’s football team will win the Big 10 football Championship in 2018 –

Welcome BIG 10 to Scott Frost!


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