- If you’re flying, some routes will offer much lower fares due to flight volume. However, some routes will be hard to find seats, let alone low fares. Business and first class fares will remain on par with 2015. On-board entertainment options will improve, such as Amazon on JetBlue and access to 30+ publications on your tablet on AirFrance.
2. If you’ll be needing hotel rooms, be prepared to pay top dollar. It is predicted that 2016 will have the highest hotel occupancy rates ever. This means surcharges will continue, such as parking and early check-in fees. Robotic check in and guest services will increase.
3. Alternative options, such as Uber, Airbnb, and Relayrides, will increase in popularity.
4. Loyalty programs will be revised or eliminated as studies show that travelers are not responding. Less than thirty percent of fliers are participating in frequent flier programs. Polls show they don’t feel they get much in return for their loyalty. And now with some changing their policies to miles earned based on ticket price rather than flight segments that will only alienate more customers. The same is true with hotels that keep adding surcharges and fees to the price.
5. More bookings will be made using mobile apps than ever before. More of everything will be done on a smart phone or tablet, such as using it to unlock your hotel room (mobile key card) rather than a room key and for boarding passes.
6. A merger between Marriott and Starwood Hotels & Resorts has resulted in the biggest hotel company in the world.
7. Virtual Reality Travel will enable travelers to experience a place before booking (YouVisit and WoofbertVR).
8. Smart Luggage (Away, BlueSmart, and Trunkster) will be available that will weigh itself to make sure it meets airplane compliance. It will also charge your travel gadgets and send you a GPS coordinate if the bag gets lost. The first company to offer baggage sponsorships will unveil its line in 2016. In exchange for carrying luggage with a logo travelers would get free checked bags, free high-quality luggage, and other perks.
9. Selfie sticks are no longer welcome! Many big attractions will ban them in 2016, including DisneyWorld, Six Flags, and Guggenheim Museum.
10. Hottest destination is expected to be Cuba due to the relaxed traveler restrictions. Commercial airlines will begin flying into Havana and cruise ships will stop in one or two Cuban ports.
Advice: The best thing to do is to use up your miles before the airlines devalue them even more. Travel in the low and off season to avoid the highest prices and biggest crowds. Don’t rush to book a trip to Cuba. Wait a while and prices will drop big time. Use social media and travel apps to get alerted to last minute deals and special offers. Fly out of alternative airports on red-eye flights. Book early or last minute to score the best fares. If you’re planning a national park vacation, plan EARLY. Visitor attendance was at an all-time high in several parks in 2015, such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Yosemite, and this trend is expected to continue throughout 2016. Sign up for my free weekly e-newsletter and I’ll keep you posted on what you need to know.