I think 2013 is going to be an “interesting” year for travel. Not just in terms of new places for you to explore, but the industry as a whole continues to change. Here are some things to keep in mind that will affect your wallet as you plan your 2013 travel.
It seems many budget hotel chains have decided that budget is feeling a bit tawdry, and so lots of them, from Travelodge to Marriott’s budget brands, are taking their accommodations up a notch. Now that doesn’t mean that your 2 star accommodation will have the finest linens, it just means things are going to be a little bit more fresh and nicer inside. In some cases, prices will nudge up a bit, but there’s still a lot of competitiveness in the space so I wouldn’t worry too much.
If the price does tip too far, there’s always the rise of AirBnB and other sites, allowing you to enjoy all the comforts of home, just in somebody else’s! I’m not a huge fan of these apartments because of the many low quality options out there, but you can get some fantastic stays for a real bargain, so if you’re willing to sift through the options…
The industry has a term for this: “ancillary revenue.” You probably know it by another name: nickle and diming. While some items are trending towards the free side – such as hotel Wifi – travel suppliers are looking under every nook and cranny to find ways to squeeze more revenue out of you. Even Southwest Airlines, famous for their “no fees” stance, is instituting a new policy in 2013 which includes various types of fees.
Whether you think fees are a good idea (“you just pay for the things you want”) or you think all this fee-ing is getting ridiculous, get used to it: fees are becoming commonplace on everything from tours to airports. Spare a bit extra in that budget, just in case you want a bottle of water or need to use the loo.
So far we’ve got fees coming at us left and right, and a difficulty in choosing where to spend the night. Wishing you hadn’t made it through the Mayan apocalypse? There is some good news. Because of all the competitiveness in traditional spots like Miami or New York, places far far away are getting into the marketing game, offering incentives and packages that you just can’t turn down. Is it a surprise that many of the “top” places in 2013 that appear on many lists are up-and-coming destinations? They range from the unique (Portland, Oregon) to the downright exotic (Myanmar), and many places in between (Solomon Islands). With the variety of planning tools and social media recommendations, it’s now easier to book those destinations far from home with a bit of confidence. I say, do it!
Last but certainly not least is a topic that will be hot in the press for 2013: travel industry mergers and acquisitions. I’m not an economics expert so I’m not sure what’s driving this effect, but you don’t have to look far to see lots of brands getting into bed together. There’s the potential American Airlines merger with US Airways, Expedia just bought Trivago, and there are countless others. Some mergers aren’t really mergers but “partnerships,” which in many cases just ensures that you, lonely consumer, have fewer options to compare.
The upside is that mergers can have unintended effects; for example, most reports I’ve seen are telling us that all the recent airline mergers over the past couple of years didn’t cause airfares to skyrocket as some said. I guess, like many of these trends, the old wise saying is most appropriate: “your mileage may vary.”
Photo Credit: Images_of_Money
Posted : Thursday, February 7th, 2013 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.