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.