Travel trends for 2015 have been great for travelers. Almost everything is changing. Some for the good and some for the bad. Would you have ever thought that you could book your hotel and order room service through social media? What about Uber and Airbnb? What game changers they have become.
How about the new emerging destinations that are on the for front. From what was once the unimaginable, places like Cuba where due to eased travel restrictions, cruises are taking off from Havana. Even more so, the recently signed nuclear deal between Iran and the UN security council has opened up opportunities for Americans to more readily visit the cosmopolitan capital of Tehran and the mosques of Kashan. And speaking of Cruise ships , The Black Sea is getting attention from the big cruise brands given the safely concerns in Ukraine. Places like Batumi, in Georgia, which is a Black Sea Port with gorgeous botanical gardens.
Unfortunately, all for the good has come with the bad as well. Its becoming a smaller and smaller world and with that has come terrorism. The good news is that it has not stopped the world from traveling. We continue to fight the fight to make the world a better place to travel. And based upon the continued growth of worldwide travel, we have many new experiences on the horizon. Such as the travel trends that have started in 2015 and will no doubt continue in 2016.
Here Are My Top Travel Trends for 2015
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, jet fuel prices were down more than 40 percent this year compared to last, but for most of 2015, that didn’t translate to cheaper airfares. Instead, American carriers like Delta and Southwest saved upwards of $2 billion on their fuel costs, and used that money to grow their businesses—which eventually served to drive up competition and drive down prices. The net result: airfares were projected to be 17 percent cheaper for the last quarter of 2015, compared to the same period a year ago.
In November, Marriott announced that it would buy Starwood Hotels and Resorts—putting to bed rumors that Hyatt or Intercontinental Hotels Group would purchase the ten-brand hotel group. Combined, they form the world’s biggest hotel brand, and likely its most powerful loyalty program—though details about the latter have yet to be revealed.
The pioneer of the sharing economy has grown up from indie darling to corporate behemoth, with 60 million hosted stays and a newly minted $25 billion valuation. But it’s also gotten its fair share of bad press this year, with lawsuits in San Francisco, a study that found half of listings illegal in New York City, and rare-but-salient tragedies spanning from rapes to deaths in host homes. No matter: this company is unstoppable, and all signs point towards continued growth (including talk of a massive expansion of guest services and amenities) in 2016.
Just last week, Boeing announced an eco-savvy update to its legendary 737, the 737 MAX, which is estimated to save 250 million pounds of fuel a year (per 100 aircraft). Also this year, Airbus launched its extra wide body A350, with roomier rows, better air quality, and extra-large windows. The one-year-old Dreamliner also saw a flurry of purchase orders and is now part of 23 carriers’ fleets (for a total of 128 routes), offering yet another option for comfort in the skies—even in economy.
In March, the robotics company Savoike completed a test run with its autonomous butler and started the long uphill climb towards making them a ubiquitous part of the guest experience. Aloft was first to bite with an R2D2-like prototype that made its debut last summer; this year six more hotels, including select Crown Plaza locations, have gained so-called “botlrs” (as Aloft has dubbed them) or “Dashes” (the preferred Crown Plaza moniker). CEO Steve Cousins says the robots have a 99 percent success rate when it comes to delivering items like extra towels or toothbrushes to hotel guests on-demand, and expects “hundreds” to be deployed at hotels around the world in the not-so-distant future.
Want a bag that can weigh itself, send you GPS coordinates if it gets lost, and also charge your gadgets? Turns out you now have several brands to choose from. The big names to consider:BlueSmart, Trunkster, and Away, a Warby Parker luggage spinoff that’s builds in fewer tech features but loads more style.
The most democratic airline of all started to move away from its one-size-fits-all approach last year when it introduced a premium cabin class called Mint. This is a travel trend that has long been coming for all airlines. This June, it also added baggage fees and different ticket types for those of us who still swear by good ol’ economy. Now, passengers can buy Blue, Blue Plus, or Blue Flex tickets—all of which offer different cost structures for checked bags, ticket changes, and cancellations. Only those who book Blue Flex tickets get to check two bags for free (and for that privilege, they’ll pay about $85 more per ticket), while Blue Plus tickets come with an average premium of $15 and one free bag. Sticking to straight-up Blue tickets? You can now expect to pay $20 for your first bag if you pay in advance, or $25 at the counter.
It seems like we’ve been talking about it for ages now, but Apple’s first smartwatch only hit shelves this April. Despite mixed reviews, travelers found much to gain—including access to boarding passes, Starwood room keys, and on-the-go translation right from their wrists. If you haven’t bought one yet, sit tight: there are already rumors swirling for a 2.0 version in 2016.
Last, but not certainly not least, speaking of travel trends, it’s no surprise that you can find the fastest growing travel club in its category here.
Until my next post, make it a great day!