Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why I Don't Agree with MSNBC: 2009--not 2010--is the Year of the Travel Deal

A recent article on MSNBC.com stated that 2010 will be the "Year of the Travel Deal". Respectfully, I disagree. Rather, 2009 will go down in the books as the "Year of the Best-Ever Travel Deals". As more people realize they can't live without travel, the bargain basement hotel rates, deeply discounted cruises, time sensitive promos & last-minute sales will become a thing of the past--a 2009 kind of thing.

How do I know this? Well, I'm seeing signs of it already. Just yesterday, I checked space for clients wanting to sail in style to Europe (next October!), and the top suites they wanted were totally booked. On several of the top cruise lines, I'm finding limited space still exists for some of the best cabins/coolest itineraries.

The reason? Smart travelers knew that the fares/rates we've been seeing all summer surely wouldn't last. Several cruise lines have even put out press releases--as they see next year's inventories fill--stating that fares will increase as of Oct 1. And don't be fooled by some of the "2-for-1" far promos we're seeing; I've already priced some of them and to be honest, the 2010 sailings still cost more at the end of the day than those in 2009.

As for hotels, how can it possibly get better than what we've seen in 2009? Never before do I recall so many luxury hotels offering free nights and ridiculous low rates. But, looking ahead, you'll see that most of these promos are only in effect from now through Christmas. People are putting 2010 travel plans on the books, leaving hoteliers slightly less panicked about the lack of advance bookings we saw in '09. My feeling is that the "Free Night" frenzy will also go down as a 2009 memory rather than something that lingers into 2010.

If the analysts are correct, and I do believe most of them are, it will take until 4th quarter for the hotel industry to show true signs of recovery. But with recovery is the goal, you certainly can't expect to see crazy creative promos like we have this year--solely to fill rooms.

My advice? There's still 3 months left in 2009. If you haven't taken advantage of the killer luxury travel deals still on offer for the balance of this year, what are you waiting for? There's still space over the holidays (!) at some of our favorite resorts (more on this, next post) and you can find all sorts of amazing deals on last-minute cruises, through the end of the year.

If you've got the time to travel, now's the time to do it. If you wait, you'll find out that I'm right--2009, not 2010, will go down as the Year of the Travel Deal.

For more information or to chat about future travel plans, contact Elite Travel International at 310.979.9036 or via email at elitetravelgal@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter for more talk of luxury travel trends at www.twitter.com/elitetravelgal

11 comments:

  1. Of course you are correct. Jump on the deals that are out there. They have been incredible this year.

    Economic recovery may be anemic. We may even double dip. But the extreme economic fear that gripped the world, and kept both leisure and business travelers at home, has certainly passed.

    Except in a very small number of markets, RevPar can only rise next year and that means fewer deals.

    Book those luxury trips at a discount now!

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  2. Stacy: Before I read your post, I was ready to say, ya, they said the same thing in January. Namely, you'd better book your travel then because the deals would be gone by Summer. Of course, the deals were still there in June and July.

    But, you have me leaning toward your view with your reports about pricing on your cruise bookings for next year.

    Of course, if, as Gary mentions, we're in store for a double-dip recession, then we'd all better abandon ship. Nice post.

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  3. Stacy, you are right on.

    We just fielded a study of hotel eBusiness, distribution, and marketing professionals. The data show that they're anticipating modest increases in the 2010 room pricing and revenue environments compared to 2009 (could it get any worse?).

    2010 won't, by any stretch, be a banner year. But it will certainly be better, financially, for many travel sellers - airlines, hotels, cruise lines, etc. That means travelers will pay more in 2010 than they are now paying in 2009. How much more is not yet fully clear, but I believe it will exceed the US Federal Government's current expected rate of inflation (2.5%).

    Good post. Shame on MSNBC.com for not thinking through their article more thoroughly.

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  4. I totally agree Stacy. I was quite puzzled by that article as well. It would be great if it were true... for travellers like me, but I doubt it. Currently, I still see lots of heavily-discounted travel deals (especially airline tickets), some of which are valid till February 2010. However, these are being picked up FAST. Based on this demand and seeing that economies (and stock markets) are starting to recover, I doubt if we'll get to see these rock-bottom prices next year, especially from the second quarter.

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  5. Thank you guys for commenting and validating my theory--which continues to be proven true. The offers I am receiving for my clients typically expire at year's end, and Regent keeps sending us messages to remind us that fares go up on 1/2 their '10 cruises this Friday! Appreciate your thoughts! SS

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