Here it comes….part 3 of my travel industry predictions for 2017. For the last two weeks I provided you with 30 of my top predictions. (CLICK HERE to see them) Today here comes 15 more. During the past thirteen years 74% of my predictions have come true! Here is more of what I think will happen in 2017 (part 3 of 4)..
# 31- 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 2017 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.
# 32 – Almost Four out of ten hotel rooms will go empty in 2017 –
Despite the hotel industry’s claim that the recession is over and that prices are rebounding the fact remains that almost 40% of hotel rooms will be empty in 2017. Obviously some markets like New York City, Chicago and other metropolitan areas will continue to see steep increases in hotel rates because of limited hotel room supply. However, many areas of world travel have not rebounded much and hotels will continue to offer very attractive rates. Look for the best hotel rates in Europe in 2017 as the dollar has made strong gains against the Euro.
# 33 – Your frequent flyer miles will be worth less in 2017 –
The airlines are all trying to rapidly devalue your frequent flyer miles this year. Add to that they are also making it tougher to earn miles as they have converted their programs from miles traveled to dollars spent. If you have a bunch of ff miles 2017 will be the year to use them as they will be worth less and less every year ahead.
# 34 – European Union will issue a travel alert for Chicago, Detroit and other big cities in the United States –
In a round-about-is-fair-play political slap to the face the Secretary of State for either the European Union or a single country will issue a travel alert warning citizens of the dangers of traveling to many of the USA’s biggest cities.
# 35 – American Airlines will be the most improved airline in 2017 –
They are bringing one new airplane a week into their fleet. Their merger with US Airways is mostly complete and they are working to improve the customer experience in many ways. American’s focus for the past 5 years has been how to be the biggest. In 2017 and beyond now they want to be the best. Let’s hope they continue to get better every day.
# 36 – Plastic Hotel Key Cards will soon go the way of the paper airline ticket –
In 2014 Starwood Hotels started keyless entry to some of their hotels. Now what started as a trickle is turning into a full tsunami. Using your smart phone 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 onto their smart phone. Once you have downloaded their app they have many more ways to “touch” you in 2017.
# 37- “Bleisure” travel combines business with leisure travel in 2017-
The millennials are figuring out hundreds of ways they can squeeze every ounce out of their business trips by combining them with mini vacations as an extension of their business travel.
# 38 – Airplanes will hit more turtles than drones in 2017 –
A lot has been written about the proliferation of drones as Christmas presents this year and how they will be an overriding concern for airplane safety. A recent article in Popular Science Magazine quoted research done by Eli Dourado, of the Mercatus Center showing that since 1990 the FAA has recorded 198 airplane-and-turtle collisions, and exactly zero drone-and-airplane collisions. Now that is funny.
# 39 – Allegiant Airlines’ planes are so old they will all be AARP certified in 2017 –
The low-cost airline has a fleet that averages 21.8 years old according to Airfleets.net. Some of their planes are older than the average age of players in the NFL.
# 40 – 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 2017 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.
# 41 – Lost luggage will turn into delayed luggage in 2017 –
Delta and American both have baggage tracking buttons on their apps and web sites that allow you to follow your bags as you fly. All the airlines are rapidly improving the ways they track luggage. Granted there will always be luggage that is lost, but with all the new airline technology most of the time in 2017 it will just be delayed and reach you the next day.
# 42 – Airline customer service (an oxymoron) is actually getting better in 2017 –
Some will ask, “How could it get any worse?” Actually I have seen an amazing turn around in airline customer service heading into 2017. Delta Air Lines is leading the pack with its “southern charm”. American Airlines, despite trying to absorb US Airways has made amazing progress with customer service. United Airlines is getting better as well but with all the senior management shakeups it may take a while for them to provide consistent service across their massive network.
# 43 – Travelers are craving authentic experiences in 2017 –
They want boutique hotels, unique eating experiences where the locals eat and ways to stay away from the plastic-fantastic tourist traps in 2017.
# 44 – New hotels will have names you never heard of in 2017 –
Thousands of new hotels will be built in the United States. Many of these hotels will be new brands that you have never heard of like Citizen M Hotel, Restoration Hardware Hotel, SLS Hotel, EDITION Hotel, AC Hotel, Pod Hotel, NoMad Hotel, Cambria, Hotel ZaZa and many more. The movement in hotels is away from the chains and toward a more personalized and boutique experience. Ironically many of the mega hotel chains are branding these new boutique hotel names.
# 45 – If you live in nine states your driver’s license will not allow you to fly in 2018 –
The Department of Homeland Security is implementing the REAL I.D. program on Jan. 22, 2018. This program requires all states to adopt better security measures for driver’s licenses and other identification, to discourage forgeries and prevent terrorism. Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington are all states that have not been in compliance and residence in those states will have to provide a passport or other valid forms of I.D. to get on a flight next year.
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