The report finds that while threats of a recession loom, travelers are still seeking out travel experiences and travel companies are refreshing their offerings
Today, The Points Guy released a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive trends report that looks at patterns in the airline, hotel, and cruise industries as well as the credit cards and loyalty programs tied to each, and how they are evolving this year.
Ahead of what's anticipated to be the busiest summer ever for travelers, the report outlines the most recent changes within the travel industry, as well as how consumers are adapting. Overall, while fears of a recession are looming, it isn't currently hindering trips for Americans as they're continuing to travel and invest in these experiences. With work-from-home policies more prevalent than pre-pandemic, vacations are longer, with the line between business and leisure blurred.
The travel industry is responding to the increased demand and shifts in the economy with higher prices. Travelers can expect hotel and flight prices to continue to rise, especially during peak travel dates such as holidays and summer vacations. The good news is that travelers can expect a wider array of choices with the introduction of more hotel brands across a variety of price points, newer and bigger cruise ships, more all-inclusive resorts, and refreshing new airline options.
"Over the last few years, the travel landscape has changed drastically. Factors such as economic shifts and more flexible work schedules have impacted the way we travel, and the industry is responding accordingly," said Brian Kelly, Founder of The Points Guy. "We're delighted to give our readers a closer look at the state of travel today as well as trends to keep an eye on. Hopefully, this helps consumers to stay informed, as well as travel smarter and better."
Additionally, from new hotel openings to better transportation connections and an influx of post-pandemic visitors, The Points Guy found that destinations including Las Vegas, Orlando, Japan and Aotearoa/New Zealand have something new and exciting that will likely lead to a boom in travel in coming months.
In summary, key themes and findings from the report can be found below. And the full report is linked here.
- CRUISE DEMAND HAS SHIFTED: The average capacity of the five biggest cruise ships has grown to 6,800 passengers and more mega-ships are under construction, including Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas. Luxury cruises remain the one area where small and intimate is still the goal, and business is booming. Six new luxury cruise lines have just debuted or are on the way, including four tied to high-end hotel chains like The Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.
- HOTELS ADD BRANDS AND ALL-INCLUSIVES: The once-niche area of all-inclusive resorts have become mainstream, with major hotel chains getting in on the action as the demand for an all-in-one-price drives demand. Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott had just 30 such resorts four years ago and now more than 150. Also, many of the major chains are investing in new hotel brands that travelers might not be familiar with. The new hot names in hospitality are Voco, Spark, Motto, and Caption.
- NEW AIRLINES ARE STEPPING ON THE SCENE: The last two decades have been filled with airline mergers, leaving passengers to mostly pick between the "big four" carriers. Two new budget airlines — Avelo and Breeze — are ones to watch. Both launched in 2021 but have rapidly grown since – already doubling their number of destinations.
- CREDIT CARDS ARE CHANGING: Banks have significantly raised the annual fees on their most-prestigious cards. While credit cards can unlock more benefits than ever before, those added perks come at a steep cost. Perks are focusing more on the lifestyle category and less on travel, and banks have created a new tier of $200+ cards and stripped benefits from their no-fee cards.
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