What’s expected for travel in 2013? Here’s a look at some trends.
The addition of ancillary fees to all facets of the travel experience was a trend in 2012, and it is here to stay in 2013. From air to land to sea, consumers will continue to experience fees. Once included in the services, these charges are now additional as each entity tries to maximize its revenue. Air travel fees like baggage, seat selection and on-board meals have now become industry standard and will potentially increase in the coming year. Following the successful ancillary additions of the airlines, hotels have also begun charging for previously free services such as room safe usage, luggage storage and restocking the minibar. Car rental companies are charging extra for GPS and car seats. And, cruise lines are adding fees for early embarkation and priority dinner seating.
A trend among consumers is the desire for new and unique experiences, something entirely different from the hotel stay of yesterday. Travelers are looking for experiential travel and destination immersion for a completely one-of-a-kind trip. Fitness adventures, yoga retreats and culinary explorations are gaining popularity and attention. Consumers are even embarking on digital detoxes, where they are forced to unplug from their plethora of addicting electronics.
Mobile usage in the travel space will be a key trend in 2013 as mobile devices have become seemingly glued to nearly every hand. As Apple’s Passbook and similar products allow travelers a one-stop shop for their travel documents, the paper boarding pass will become a thing of the past. New apps such as Hotel Tonight allow travelers to use their phones or tablets to book on the go, making same-day reservations. And, the burgeoning mobile marketplace offers consumers a variety of map and tour guide apps for their devices.
Most important for 2013 is the increasing sentiment for travel. As the economy improves, consumers are thinking more about vacations and choosing to spend their money in this way. The average amount of money spent and number of trips planned per family have both been on the rise, reaching pre-recession levels for leisure travel. Attitudes are improving as customers are increasingly satisfied with their travel experiences.
Consumers are continuing to emerge from the recession with a desire for new and exciting adventures, and 2013 is likely to be the year they take those trips. Despite additional travel fees, trends for 2013 indicate a strong growth year for the industry.