TRAVEL HERE: VACATIONS START HERE
Remember when they tried to tell us travel agents were going to disappear, because everyone was going to shop for their travel online. Well, go ahead and shop, but when it gets time to buy, call your travel agent. They haven’t gone anywhere and they still book the greater majority of travel. Besides that, they are free and that’s my price. My travel agency is CTC and my travel agent is Sandra Rubio. Let me tell you about their recent travel show.
What I Didn’t Know
I’ve traveled a lot in my life, but it would be impossible to know everything about the travel industry, because things change all the time. The the more you know, quite frankly, the better you will travel. Most of the things I heard at CTC’s travel expo I already knew, but as always, I picked up little tidbits. Some things help me get better value for my travel dollar. Others introduce me to exciting new opportunities.
Here’s some of the new tidbits I can picked up this time:
- BOOK CRUISES EARLY and the more you care about when, where, what boat and what cabin, the earlier you need to book. 2019 is already filling up and some of the best things in 2020 are already gone. And the industry is very, very serious about this.
- Yes, you can get short cruises. Used to be the norm was 14-21 days, but that doesn’t work for Boomers or Millennials and that’s who’s driving the industry now. There are lots of short 4-5 day cruises leaving American ports and 8-10 day cruises all over the world.
- Say good-bye to losing your boarding card. Royal Caribbean will be giving you a watch programmed with all your essentials. Another line is working on a piece of jewelry that can be worn in several ways that will hold you essential info – not just your beverage program, but how you like your martinis! Thank RFID technology.
- Being single is becoming less of problem. Remember those Boomers and Millennials who are driving the industry? Well, most of them are single and even if they are not, some of them prefer traveling alone. The travel industry has listened! There’s an emerging market of single bookings available. Price quoted double occupancy is still the norm, but you’re no longer required to make friends with a stranger or put up with your crazy cousin to afford traveling alone. You’ll still have to do your homework, for now. There are limited choices, but watch for this to pick up momentum. For now, check out Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Cunard.
- Get a passport! Changes are coming. Security and documentation for travel, even domestic travel, is quickly getting more and more demanding. While for the time being you can still enjoy closed loop cruising or domestic flights without a passport, the clock is ticking. They’ve got things in the works that will make flight documentation so cumbersome that you’ll want a passport – even if you’re just flying from Dallas to San Antonio for a long weekend. And by the way, 13 airports in our world now have bio-metric security measures. Expect it on your travels soon.
- Thank Millennials for community spaces in your hotel. Have you noticed business centers have moved to the front of the hotel? There was a time when finding the business center to check your email or send a fax (Ha! remember faxes?) meant wandering into the bowels of your hotel and you’d be very alone when you got there. If you’ve visited a new hotel or a newly renovated one, then you’ve probably noticed bright, comfortable workspaces near the entrance. These inviting communal spaces, the snack/wine bar and other property amenities are there to lure Millennials. Since so many of them are self-employed, tele-commuting from home or working in other alternative spaces, they crave getting out of the four walls of their hotel room. They want places to meet with their clients without taking them back to their room or going to Starbucks. Their demand is our gain. Not only is there a more attractive place to check your email, chances are there will be an inviting buzz in the lobby around 5 o’clock, the workout room will not be a grungy place where old gym equipment goes to die and who knows, there might even be grill on the patio!
- All the new fees are not a product of your imagination – get used to it. It started with the airlines, but it didn’t stop there. First, it was baggage fees and box lunches. Now, there’s fee for having an assigned seat or legroom. Who knows when they’ll figure out how to charge you a fee for the air you breathe! But that’s not the worst part. The hotels, resorts, car rental agencies, tour operators, etc., etc. etc. of the world observed what the airline industry did and now you’ll find they are adding fees to their tab, too. Tickets represent only 71% of airline revenue and with Spirit Airlines, that goes down to 60% – everything else is fees. Hotels took in $2.7 Billion (with a B!) during a recent year and the number is just beginning to climb. Bottom line, that online price is just the beginning. Another reason to get to know your local travel agent!
- New ships coming! Cruising just gets more popular everyday. Ninety-seven new cruise ships are scheduled to be launched from 2017-2025. Yes, some of them are huge, like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class, but smaller ships are wildly popular, too. Ritz Carlton will be launching 298-passenger yachts. Emerald,a river cruising enterprise, is about to enter the small ocean-going ship market. Celebrity is about to launch a new ship concept with The Edge. Viking is churning out longships and small ocean-going ships as fast as it can.
That should be enough to tempt you off your sofa (even with all the fees). So come on out and choose a vacation. You’ll be glad you did. Tell them Jane sent you!