The Ypartnership newsletter has arrived and once again it draws our attention to key realities and practicalities in the world of travel.
In one of their recent studies, they have identified 16 key issues and trends will have an impact on the world of travel in North America.
I find several of these of particular significance:
(a) “Demand for leisure travel services (both domestic and international) will continue to grow, although at a more modest rate than observed this year because of consumers’ unprecedented level of personal debt and creeping anxiety about job security, the price of gas at the pump, interest rates and the volatility of the stock market. Nevertheless, leisure travelers will continue to fill more airline seats and hotel rooms than business travelers as the gap between the two sources of demand widens….”
It is true that dyed-in-the-wool travellers will never give up the right to travel, no matter what roadblocks are put in their way. The report also confirms that, “… we are comforted by what appears to be an immutable tenet of contemporary life: to Americans, travel is a birthright, and one we will continue to exercise in one form or another regardless of uncertainty about the future.”
(b) “The incidence of Internet usage by consumers to plan travel experiences will remain flat (at roughly 70% of the population of business travelers, and 65% of the population of leisure travelers) while the incidence of Internet usage to book reservations will continue to grow, albeit at a much slower rate than observed in recent years.”
I find this a touch misleading, especially in terms of the use of the word “flat.” The great leap forward in terms the general public’s access to travel information via the Internet is already a fait accompli. We have come a long way baby. We have reached cruising altitude.
(c) “The social networking buzz will continue to build, and for good reason: one-third of travelers regularly visit advisory web sites like tripadvisor.com to seek the opinions of those who have “been there,” and fully one-third have visited myspace.com to read a travel review….”
I must admit to feeling somewhat conflicted by this information. On the one hand, I value and respect the professional skills of travel journalists who “tell the stories as they (we hope) should be told. On the other hand, I am also aware that “travel stories” are often just that; stories commissioned by major media outlets that in turn have — as we all know — commercial, editorial, and even political agendas. On the third hand, if I want to really get the scoop on a destination, the first thing I do is ask someone I know who has really “been there” to tell me their version of the travel experience.
(d) “The Golden Era of Baby Boom Travel will begin to unfold as the 78,000,000 adults who meet this demographic description begin to turn 60 years of age and exercise their robust sense of wanderlust (fueled by good health and more discretionary income). Hence, adult couples will continue to dominate demand for leisure travel services…”
Ah the wanderlust! Yes! But wait a minute. How come our generation is particularly prone to this need? What about the generations that will follow us? Where are the next global travellers coming from? What will drive them to get out and about and bring home new perspectives?
(e) “More travelers will discover and support travel service suppliers who demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility (eight out of ten U.S. adults now claim to be “environmentally conscious”) as the debate about carbon offset programs enters the mindset of enlightened consumers…”
Good on ya travellers! (Canadian spelling eh?) However, I also remember Ypartnership reporting recently that green-minded tourists will choose the sustainable choices only if they get them for the same price. Willing spirits; weak flesh.
(f) “The languishing value of the U.S. dollar is also likely to affect outbound traffic from the U.S. to international destinations (according to our recent travelhorizons™ survey, four out of ten U.S. travelers stated that further declines in the value of the U.S. dollar would affect their international travel plans…”
To read the full report, click here.