As Hotels.com™ celebrates its 25th year, we want to thank our millions of customers for inspiring and challenging us to keep developing and to never settle for just good enough. We’re in an exciting industry that continues to grow, evolve and innovate, and we’re right at the forefront of it. This edition of our Hotel Price Index™ captures some of the trends, shifts and surprises that keep us seeking our next destination.
Although global economic conditions, weather-related events and tragic international incidents would hint at slower domestic and international travel, voyages and prices paid from and to popular global destinations remained strong. For example, Europeans and Latin Americans paid more to travel to ever-popular Florida cities like Orlando and Lake Buena Vista, while Americans spent more of their travel dollars while on trips to China and Ireland.
Just like the weather, currency fluctuations were unpredictable and at times tumultuous. With the US dollar appreciating against major world currencies in 2015, American travellers with their sights on international destinations have been able to spend more time and money in their destination. And while other currencies have depreciated to make international outbound travel quite a bit more costly, on total we saw another record year for global travel in 2015.
Yet, there were several key trends that simply continued to build momentum, creating new opportunities and re-shaping the landscape:
- Choice, choice and more choice was never truer when travellers considered how to book, when to book, how to pay, as well as where to stay. Great examples are things like Cuba opening up for US travellers this year, and Apple Pay making its way into the online payment space.
- Millennials continued to gain more of the total travel pie while inspiring features like personalisation, tech, transparency lodging in someone’s home, and certainly social media integrations through all phases of the travel journey.
- Lessened Visa restrictions, combined with attractive currency rates in many popular countries, made travelling beyond the borders easier and more possible than ever.
- Mobile traffic and bookings remain on the rise, representing in some places over half of the volumes. Mobile snackable consumption.
- Cultural and sporting events inspired travel more than ever as we still clearly aspire to participate and experience, and not just consume them on TV or mobile screens.
To borrow an expression from one of my favourite American television shows, “Friday Night Lights,” there couldn’t be a better time to get off the sidelines and get out there, get in the game – and travel!
President, Hotels.com brand