As Hotels.com™ enters its 25th year, we pause before blowing out our birthday candles to thank our customers for inspiring us to keep challenging ourselves and to never settle for good enough. We’re in an exciting industry that continues to innovate. And while change is the only thing that’s constant, it certainly makes for a breathtaking view for those of us who love travel. This edition of our Hotel Price Index™ captures 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, unexpected and at times tumultuous. With the U.S. 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, we somewhat surprisingly saw a record year for global travel in 2015.
Amidst the global economic and ever-changing weather conditions, there were some trends that were a bit more predictable and in line with what we’ve seen over the past Hotel Price Index™ reporting season:
- 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. Certainly as travel to once-forbidden locales, such as Cuba for US travellers, becomes more of a reality, the choices on where to spend leisure time will be even more abundant.
- Millennials continued to gain more of the total travel pie while inspiring personalisation, tech, transparency, and social media integrations through all phases of the travel journey.
- Lessened visa restrictions, combined with attractive currency rates in popular countries, made travelling beyond the borders more possible than ever.
- While mobile bookings remain on the rise, new payment options and wearables are just slight innovations away from changing the game on ways we’ll spend our cash and how we’ll interact with travel providers, the destinations and each other.
- Cultural and sporting events inspired travel more than ever as we aspired not to just stand by (perhaps at the television or through our mobile devices) and observe the action, but to instead be part of the action.
To borrow a quote from one of my favourite American television shows, “Friday Night Lights,” there couldn’t be a better time to get off the sidelines and stay alert to these exciting changes. So “don’t just stand by and watch it happen,” get out there, get in the game and travel!
President, Hotels.com brand