What Will Be the Top Trends in Travel in 2016? Our Predictions
Airline executives, too, have been lowering prices on some routes, partially because of decreased jet fuel costs, and partially because of increasing competition from non-legacy carriers like Virgin America and JetBlue. "The growth is in the double digits for low cost carriers in 2016," says Tom Spagnola, a Senior Vice President at CheapoAir.com. "When one of the low cost carriers come into a market, and we’ve seen this recently in Dallas and Los Angeles, airfares drop by 25%. We’ll be seeing more of competition in 2016. Spirit Airlines is up to almost 80 destinations, Frontier is growing at double digits."
But are there too many river cruises now? Though I couldn’t get anyone to comment on record on this speculation, many in the industry are worried that river cruising has reached a saturation point. Some 23 new boats were launched in 2015, with more debuting the year before. Not only is there limited space on the great rivers of the world (the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine, the Mekong, the Yangtze, etc), but it may be that, in 2016, there will be more staterooms than would-be passengers. If the number of discounts I’ve seen in recent months for river cruises is any indication, prices could continue to stay flat or bottom out.
But with increasing numbers come increased government scrutiny. In November of 2015, New York City announced that it would allot $10 million to crack down on "illegal hotels" (read: Airbnb). It's just one of many municipalities—including Paris, San Francisco and Las Vegas—that have made it illegal to rent an apartment or home for less than 30 days. We're also seeing attempts to regulate Uber, Lyft and other big "sharers", which may lead to these organizations—with legal bills to pay, taxes to negotiate and more services that they’ll need to give to service providers (licensing fees, insurance policies and more)—to increase prices. We’ll see.
And it's not only travel agents and tour operators that are responding to this trend; according to Osborne, hotels, particularly in Europe, are revamping their properties to create multi-room suites to compete with apartment and home rentals for these larger groups.
I’d say the takeaway is not more actual "wellness vacations" but a change in mindset, leading vacationers to pick trips that they think will add to their mental and/or physical wellbeing—which ain’t a bad development at all.
In addition, a number of tour companies and travel agents employ security experts (like Richards) to create emergency protocols for their clients. And those traveling without the help of a company, are being more mindful of registering their plans with the US State Department, so that they can get help if needed.