Here it comes… Steve Glenn’s travel industry predictions for 2022
During the past twenty years over 70% of my predictions have come true. Over the next four weeks, I will provide you with 40 of my travel industry crystal ball predictions. Here is week 1 of what I think will happen in 2022. Part 2 of 4 will arrive in your inbox next week. Happy New Year!
1. Hotels will charge you a housekeeping fee of $15 a night –The pandemic has provided the hotels with the opportunity to start charging a fee for housekeeping. Basically, if you want someone to clean your room every day you will have to notify the front desk and pay a fee. Hotels seem to be adopting the adage used by Sir Winston Churchill, “never let a crisis go to waste” by implementing daily “COVID cleaning fees” on top of your hotel room rate. These hidden fees are an insult to travelers and I hope hotels will treat their customers better by being honest and upfront with travelers and not charging these fees.
2. There will be a massive wave of vacation travel after Easter and for the rest of the year – The first three months of 2022 will be extremely slow as the third and fourth wave of the virus sweeps the world. But as the vaccine, treatments, and testing become more uniform the pent-up demand will be released for travel after Easter and the rest of the year. “Katie bar the door” as people will want to make up ground for being stuck in their homes for the last two years. We will go from what seems like slow travel in January to one hundred miles an hour after Easter. It will be crazy!
3. COVID vaccination will not be required for domestic flights – Many people are speculating that the government will require proof of COVID vaccinations for all domestic flights. With the current vaccination rate hanging around 70% I just don’t see this happening as it will eliminate 30% of the possible customers of the airlines. This would be catastrophic for the airlines as the remaining 30% will most likely drive or simply not travel instead of flying.
4. Cruising should have great prices in 2022 to get people to ignore the CDC warnings – The CDC gave the cruise industry the worst possible Christmas present when they warned Americans they should avoid cruising even if they are vaccinated. This is obviously not good news for the cruise lines, however, they understand that Americans love a good deal and many will ignore the CDC warnings and sail the seven seas if given a great deal.
5. People around the world are starting to ignore all the COVID warnings and have decided to live life and start traveling again – No one knows who to trust anymore concerning the pandemic. They don’t trust politicians. They don’t trust the press. The CDC has changed its guidance multiple times. Some people love masks. Some people hate masks. Some people hate people who hate masks. Some people hate people who mock people for not wearing a mask. One day people say the vaccine helps prevent getting the virus, the next day they say it may only help you stay out of the hospital. People are getting overwhelmed with the constant drumbeat of COVID this and COVID that. 2022 is the year that many people will say it is time to live life again with the understanding that there are risks to traveling. Many people will accept those risks and start traveling the world again in 2022.
6. Facial recognition will replace your airline ticket and passport – Paper tickets are ancient history and now digital tickets on your mobile phone will no longer be needed to clear airport security as the travel industry is moving rapidly to deploy facial recognition scanners to replace your digital or paper tickets. Anyone who has used a Global Entry pass to clear international immigration and customs understands that you no longer need to present your passport in the Global Entry machines as they have a scan of your face and know all the details of your trip. Many airport security gates now just have you present a photo ID and not a ticket to clear security. Although this appears as progress it is also a little creepy to me as the government knows your every move.
7. Travel insurance is a must for travel in 2022 – With all the testing and COVID protocols in place around the world, I think you would be foolish to travel without protecting yourself and your travel investment by purchasing travel insurance. For example, an international tour to Europe may cost $5000. What happens if you catch COVID the day before you leave on your trip? What about if your test comes back false positive? What happens when you catch COVID during your trip and test positive before getting on the plane and have to isolate for 10 days? All these cases could cause you to lose thousands of dollars but can be covered by certain travel insurance programs. Even domestic travel should be covered with insurance as you could be out thousands of dollars if testing turns up positive.
8. Hotels’ poor service and additional fees will cause even business travelers to consider VRBO’s – VRBO’s (Vacation Rentals by Owners) have been a popular housing alternative to hotel stays during the pandemic for many vacation travelers. As hotels struggle to find staff, add new fees for room cleaning, and closed hotel restaurants to address the staffing shortages, families and business travelers will now accelerate their move from hotels to VRBO’s in 2022. Hotels better get their act together quickly or their business model could turn away travelers to other housing alternatives like VRBOs.
9. Travel in early 2022 will be centered in North America with “fun and sun” destinations continuing to lead the way – Resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Florida will lead the way in the travel industry recovery in 2022. People are tired of being cooped up in their houses and want to get outside and start living life again. People will also want to put their toes in the water by traveling to places not too exotic or far from home before they jump in with both feet and explore the world.
10. Travel to Europe will be very slow for the first 3 months of 2022 and then slowly build for the rest of the year – Travel to Europe is basically slower than molasses in January in Nebraska today. People in many countries cannot even leave their houses. Easter this year will be the magical day that vaccines, testing, and the expected decline of the Omicron variant will be the hopeful rebound of European travel as the COVID freeze starts to thaw. I think travel after July 4thwill be extremely strong to Europe as people will want to sneak in a pre-winter trip or two to their favorite countries in Europe. I know I can’t wait to get back to Europe this year.