We’re starting to get pretty defined predictions for the travel industry for 2012. These are early predictions, mostly for air travel and accommodations. And they are presented with the focus being on corporate travel. Read that – big budgets, big bucks, big bills.
The report was prepared by Advito, the consulting unit of BCD travel. It’s extensive, detailed, and very supporting of it’s figures.
The bottom line for US travelers is we can expect a five to six percent increase in travel expenses in 2012. The lowest rate noted was for the African continent at three to four percent, overall. Those figures are for overall travel expenses, including regional as well as intercontinental travel, and hotel stays. But, as in all predictions, there is some wiggle room. Here’s how they break out.
The overall increase will be the result of airline mergers, hospitality group mergers, and a small increase in fuel. The fuel costs are expected to be stabilized by the transfer of riding passengers across the markets.
Travel within the US is expected to stay flat, thus the cost of the fuel has to be divided amongst less seats. On the other hand, travel is peaking to markets like China and the Far East. High demand, lots of filled seats and many more miles to spread the costs over, and the profits can offset the US travel fuel costs.
That’s good news for central US travelers, but will work against our area, the gateway cities for intercontinental travel. Here in Wilmington we can expect to see equal rises up and down the eastern seaboard, at least until US travel picks up and is healthy again.
The same thing will go for hotel costs. Any savings on cost of doing business – keeping the lights on and keeping the heat, and A/C running will be swallowed by demand. Unless of course, again, you’re heading to the midwest.
So what can we do? What do they advise? Borrowing from the big business model, we should negotiate more, and harder. If you get a pretty good price on a deal, ask for something lower yet. The great deals will still be there, but harder to secure than just good deals.
Try to book much farther in advance to smooth out immediate price fluctuations. And get ‘last room available’ guarantees for reservations if possible. That will guard you against over bookings, which will be de rigueur in tough markets.
And look for the mergers. Mergers mean someone is buying debt. And that could mean lowering prices to garner business to cover that debt.
We’re still going to need to travel. We’re just going to need to watch our piggy banks a little closer.