Steve Glenn’s final 15 travel industry predictions for 2020
For the last three weeks, I provided you with 45 of my top predictions. Today I am presenting you with my last 15 predictions for 2020. During the past seventeen years, 73% of my predictions have come true! Here’s the rest of what I think will happen in 2020 part 4/4…
To view the previous predications, CLICK HERE.
#45- It will be cheaper to cruise than to stay in assisted living– You do the math. A seven-day cruise costs are as low as $75 a day. Living in an assisted living center is over $100 a day. I can’t wait to retire!
#46- Hertz and Avis Car Rental will start offering “non-refundable” and “no-show” fees in 2020- For the last 7 years I have been predicting that car rental companies will start charging a “no-show” fee if you do 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 7 years but their competitors see so much revenue with these new fees that they will go ahead and launch these new fees in 2020 regardless if National says “No”.
#47- 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 seasons 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 plans are all 100% full. This means that if a low-cost airline has weather or mechanical problems 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.
#48- 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.
#49- People will start sending their luggage by FedEx instead of checking it with the airlines- Every major airline (except Southwest) now charges as much as $120 roundtrip to have you check your luggage. While travelers hate these fees the airlines have figured out they can charge these fees without suffering the wrath of their customers. After three years of predicting, I anticipate that in 2020 we will finally see UPS and FedEx start to promote a “door to door” luggage service at a cost equal to or less than the cost of taking your luggage to the airport and paying those fees.
#50- Almost four out of ten hotel rooms will go empty in 2020- Despite the hotel industry’s continuing to build more and more hotels the fact remains that almost 35% of hotel rooms will be empty in 2020. Obviously some markets like New York City, Chicago, and other metropolitan areas will continue to see increases in hotel rates because of limited hotel room supply. However, many areas of the world have seen thousands of new hotels being built and will continue to offer very attractive rates. Look for the best hotel rates in Europe in 2020 as the dollar will continue to make strong gains against the Euro.
#51- Southwest Airlines’ credit card will offer free companion tickets when you fly in 2020- One of the best values in 2020 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. 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.
#52- The assistant manager at McDonald’s will make more than the co-pilot of that regional jet you fly on this afternoon- Starting pay for pilots for some regional airlines starts as low as $22,000 a year. 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. READ MORE
#53- In 2020 there will be two classes of travelers, the haves and the have nots- Airlines are rapidly building their marketing efforts around their best customers in order to coax them back. They will give all the perks like free baggage, seat upgrades and express check-in to these frequent travelers. The rest of us schmucks will be forced to wait in long lines, get stuck in middle seats by the bathroom and pay for our luggage.
#54- Travel to Cuba is dead in 2020- Travel to Cuba was hot, hot, hot for the last 4 years but recent limitations have been put back on travel to our neighbor to the south. Even the cruise lines are prohibited from traveling to Cuba. The airlines have also had to scale back on travel to Cuba.
#55- The number 1 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.
#56- Airline customer service (an oxymoron) is actually getting better in 2020- Some will ask, “How could it get any worse?” Actually I have seen an amazing turn around in airline customer service heading into 2020. Delta Air Lines is leading the pack with its “southern charm”. United Airlines is getting better as they expand service and flights. American has had a tough couple of years but senior management is trying to get everyone to row the boat together consistently across their massive network.
#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- 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, fees, 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.
#59- Expect airlines to offer travel sales for discounted miles– Airlines know when and where they have empty seats. Plus they have billions of frequent flyer miles on the books that they need to provide redemption incentives to get those off the books and stimulate sales of seats. In 2020 they will offer special sales so instead of it taking 35,000 miles to redeem for a free seat to Mexico they will have sales that lower that redemption level to 25,000 miles or less. The airlines know many people only have enough miles for one free ticket and that usually, 2 to 4 people in a family will travel to Mexico. So if they have one free ticket they also get to sell one ticket and fill two empty seats.
#60- The airlines will start charging for “Emotional Baggage” in 2020- 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.
Bonus #61- 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 #62- 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 the French love Americans.
Bonus #63- Executive Travel will celebrate its 35th year anniversary in 2020- Thanks to all our customers, employees and friends who have helped make this happen.
Bonus #64- Nebraska’s football team will win the Big 10 football Championship in 2020.