Travel intensifies, but the ride will be bumpy – Winnipeg Free Press

Every year around this time, I try to give readers a glimpse of what the next 12 months of travel might look like with a glimpse of what I predict, as well as what many experts suggest as trends and changes. to come in the travel industry.

Airline image doesn’t seem relevant

After weathering the worst months of COVID – it looked like travel was going to have a dramatic return to the days before with no end of growth in sight. And it all started that way, with bookings surging for destinations everywhere until the realities of staffing shortages, from baggage handling to experienced pilots, sent the aviation sector into a tailspin. Canceled flights, long waits and blocked phone lines were commonplace.

Photos by Ron Pradinuk/Winnipeg Free Press

The new home office can now be anywhere in the world you want to work from.

The public felt burned when airlines found as many ways as possible to say no to legitimate refund requests, as set out in passenger protection legislation enacted by the government.

After watching the media coverage of passengers screaming for help – or worse sleeping at night on airport floors with young children in tow – the airlines’ image plummeted. The situation worsened when the airlines got it wrong and changed their rationalization for denying passenger claims.

Yet none of this affected the path to strong bookings with these same airlines. Aside from the huge mess caused by recent weather events, travel is set to rebound again this year and, with staff shortages remaining a challenge, other issues related to providing quality service may persist.

Remember how cruising was going to stay in a deep dive?

Massive COVID outbreaks in the crowded confines of what is known as the petri dish of cruise ships have nearly killed the industry. The ships sat idle for months and sailed almost empty for the first routes. This is no longer the case. Some cruise lines are reporting their highest daily sales ever.

Before the pandemic, the number of passengers was expected to reach an all-time high. Once again, the allure of exploring multiple destinations on one trip and enjoying the luxury of great meals and service at the end of the day seems to overcome the fear of health issues that has kept people away from over the past two years.

Your travel dollar won’t go that far

Global tourism is expected to grow by at least 30% this year. Even with price increases already a factor due to inflation, there is confidence in the near future.

In fact, one of the current concerns is how the industry will manage the increase in demand and find and train qualified people, from pilots to chefs and waiters.

What’s on your to-do list?

The nature of where people will go may be somewhat different than it was in the past. Most travelers have always had must-see destinations that they hoped to discover one day. With serious thought from many after being held back during the pandemic, that day seems to be on the most immediate horizon.

What was first defined as a revenge trip as the worst of relaxed pandemic precautions is now turning into a reassessment of the importance of what travelers want to see and do with their leisure lives – accepting that for each d ‘Between us, our plans can change or disappear unexpectedly due to forces beyond our control.

Increased demand for off-season travel

Although prices can rise across the board, one way to manage costs is to avoid booking trips during peak season when the price of almost everything from accommodations to attractions is highest.

Photos by Ron Pradinuk

The public felt burned when airlines found as many ways as possible to say no to legitimate refund requests, as set out in passenger protection legislation enacted by the government.

Despite airline challenges, travel is on an upward trajectory.

I’ve always suggested traveling off season even before the recent inflationary pressures. In most cases, the attractions are still open, especially in the first weeks of the shoulder seasons, and the crowds are much smaller.

As with many trends, there can be a potential downside. As these slower period bookings increase, price increases are sure to follow. For this year at least, there is still the possibility of saving money.

Late and changing business travel

According to several projections, it may take until 2026 for business travel to return to what was once considered normal. Companies have learned that they can manage and save significantly on this expense line without unduly impacting their operations, from sales to quality control.

Although the recovery of business travel is slow, some analysts suggest that the new normal may not be working from home, but rather working while roaming.

It also became clear that some industries could operate efficiently without employees coming into the office. Today, those same employees plan to relocate to cities like Paris and London for longer periods than they would for vacations. They have access to all technologies and can discover different destinations in a completely immersive way while providing complete and satisfying work performance to their employers from as far away as they wish.

Home sharing continues to grow

Travelers continue to be drawn to homes and apartments offered on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. The availability of these options, from castles to ordinary residential homes and condos, satisfies the desire to be independent from large hotel chains, which was probably the first choice for most in the past.

In some cities, cohabitation has become a problem for municipal governments, as the inventory of local residents disappears, leading to higher rent and housing prices. The hospitality industry also needs high occupancy to survive and is now often unable to meet target expectations.

The industry has been looking for ways to modify their properties to keep customers booking by adding something akin to home sharing. But it’s a steep climb and roommate demand won’t slow down.

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Ron Pradinuk

Ron Pradinuk
travel writer

A writer and podcaster, Ron’s travel column appears in the Winnipeg Free Press every Saturday in the Destinations and Diversions section.

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