Steve Glenn’s Travel Industry Predictions for 2020- (3/4)

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For the last two weeks, I provided you with 30 of my top predictions. Today here comes 15 more. During the past seventeen years, 73% of my predictions have come true! Here’s part 3/4 of what I think will happen in 2020.

To view the previous predictions, CLICK HERE.

#31- Uber prices will double in 2020 –I have been a big supporter and user of Uber. However, if you look under the hood of their business model they are hemorrhaging billions of dollars of losses each quarter. The money people who have invested in Uber no longer want to just see the growth they want to see profits (show me the money baby).  The only way to do that is to increase prices significantly. Also, California recently passed a new law classifying Uber’s drivers as employees instead of independent contractors which will send Ubers labor costs up sky high. They 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 50% to 100% to stop the hemorrhaging. 

#32- Don’t be surprised if you have to pay a $50 daily fee to visit your favorite European city because of over-tourism in 2020- Over-tourism (too many tourists) will cause fees and timed access to many popular destinations in 2020. Simply put, the dramatic increase in the global middle class is presenting too many tourists visiting many popular destinations (Venice, Rome, Amsterdam) around the globe. Some destinations are experimenting with daily access fees. Some are giving access tickets for certain times to prevent being overrun by people. The idea is if they add a large enough fee perhaps some people won’t visit and provide some space for others to enjoy.

#33- It’s about time! – Airplane Wi-Fi will move from sucky to good in 2020 and great in 2021 – Using Wi-Fi on a plane can be an adventure as it is often painfully slow and constantly going on and off. In 2018 most major airlines started the process of upgrading the Wi-Fi service so people will actually want to pay for it. In 2020 I think most flights will have much better service.

#34- It will take the average flyer 10 years to earn a free airline ticket using frequent flyer miles – The airlines continue to make major changes to their frequent flyer programs. So much so that for over 80% of the flyers who do not fly enough to gain preferred status will find belonging to an airline’s frequent flyer program is probably worthless.  The airlines no longer award points based on miles flown but on how much you paid for your ticket. For the average person, this means you will have to take almost twice as many flights to earn a freebie. If you fly twice a year it could take you 10 years to earn a free ticket. The only way most people will earn enough miles for a free ticket is if they have a credit card that offers 2X – 5X points for the groceries and gas they charge.

#35- Greece is my Blue Light Special in 2020- Years ago I remember K-mart having a blue light special for the best deals in the store. In 2020 the Euro has fallen to the lowest level in decades 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 Greece is trying to climb out of an economic recession. Greece is back baby!

#36- United and American Airlines will join Delta and Southwest by offering free texting on flights in 2020 – Delta, Southwest, and 17 other airlines worldwide currently offer free texting. I hope United and American join in the parade this year.

#37- Unisex bathrooms will take over the restaurant world in 2020– I really like the direction the restaurant world is heading by adding unisex bathrooms instead of the standard men/women bathrooms. Having an individual room that includes a toilet and sink with privacy is amazing. I know it takes up a lot more room but boy is it nice.

#38- Your phone will be your hotel key in 2020- Plastic hotel key cards are quickly going the way of the paper airline ticket as many hotel chains now offer keyless entry using your smartphone. Now what started as a trickle in 2018 is turning into a full tsunami. Using your smartphone to unlock your hotel room is the next big thing in the hotel industry. The reason that all the hotels want to move rapidly to replace the old plastic key cards with wireless Bluetooth using your smartphone is that this forces the travelers to download the hotel app on to their smartphone. Once you have downloaded their app they have many more ways to “touch” you in 2020.

#39- San Francisco will be on the “Do not travel list” by many travelers-  San Francisco was one of my favorite cities in the world. Not any more. The town has become the Hell Hole of the U.S. The San Francisco Chronicle reports people injecting themselves with drugs in broad daylight, their dirty needles, and other garbage is strewn on the sidewalks. Tent camps. Human feces. The threatening behavior of some people who appear either mentally ill or high. Petty theft. Even the President of the convention and visitors bureau says, “The streets are filthy. There’s trash everywhere. It’s disgusting,” He continues, “I’ve never seen any other city like this — the homelessness, dirty streets, drug use on the streets, smash-and-grabs.” If the Convention and Visitors Bureau is saying this when their job is to put a positive spin to make people want to visit it is easy to surmise it must be worse than we can even imagine.

#40- 2020 will be the year to travel and leave your wallet at home –I have to admit I am a scaredy-cat. For the last three years, I have promised that I would take at least one trip without my wallet.  This is finally the year I do it! I will leave my wallet at home. My plan is to take a flight for a business trip and leave my wallet, cash and credit cards at home. With my iPhone and Apple Pay, I can pay for my gasoline, buy a sandwich at Subway or McDonalds, buy medicine at Walgreens, and clothing at JC Penney.  I can also have Uber pick me up and drop me off at the airport. Using a travel company like Executive Travel to prepay for my airline tickets and hotel lodging before I leave town all I need to take with me is my smartphone (iPhone) and a driver’s license to get through airport security. Finally, technology makes my life easier!  P.S. Just don’t lose your iPhone!

#41- Airfares will be flat in 2020 but you will actually pay more for traveling, how can it be? – Airfares today make up only about 75% of the cost of your flight as airlines will “get you” with a litany of new fees for everything from seat assignments to baggage fees. So in 2020 that $300 airfare you buy will be added to the $100 in fees you pay for your bags, seats, and dozens of other fees. Bottom line is that the total cost you pay to fly will be higher in 2020.

#42- This is the year for FREE Wi-Fi at most hotels – 2020 will be the year that the hotel industry finally stops beating the dead horse by charging for in-room Wi-Fi. Ironically many 3 stars and below hotels for years have not been charging for Wi-Fi. Just by signing up for a hotel’s frequent guest program today allows for free Wi-Fi at most hotels. If McDonald’s can offer free Wi-Fi then so can Marriott.

#43- Zika will raise its ugly head again in 2020 – Many people have been lulled to sleep thinking that the Zika virus has come and gone. Not so fast my friends. This virus still has massive negative effects on anyone who is pregnant or even childbearing age.  I think in 2020 anyone traveling to a Zika infected zone (most all of the Caribbean, Central, and South America) will be given a disclosure statement outlining the risk of this mosquito-born disease. Keep in mind that this disease can be sexually transmitted so even a college male on spring break to the Caribbean can infect his girlfriend when he returns. To learn more about Zika CLICK HERE.

#44- The Euro to US Dollar (USD) exchange rate will fall under parity in 2020, WOW! – 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 12 years have been a bummer for the Euro as it has fallen like a rock to around $1.12  today. With the shock of Brexit happening soon I think the Euro will head south after they lose their good friends of Great Britain. In 2020 I am predicting that the Euro will be worth less than the dollar.

#45- Savvy travelers will alter their travel plans from the summer months to the early spring and late fall to avoid massive crowds at the most popular places- As the middle class grows all around the world more and more people are traveling to top tourist destinations. They are packed during the summer months of June, July, August, and September. Smart travelers will start to target traveling during April and May and October and November to avoid the massive crowds. The great benefit of traveling at this time is that prices are more reasonable and the weather is often very mild. I actually also enjoy traveling during December, January, February, and March to Europe even though the weather can be cold and snowy.

 

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