Noteworthy Travel Trends for 2011
This blurb in a Time Magazine article sums up the impact of living in a technology driven world: In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S.
For those of you whose lives aren’t driven by technology, they’re referring to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2010. Growth in both the social media and mobile space is booming, and the travel industry is no exception.
Travelocity has identified three big travel trends (along with a few other bites) for 2011, and it’s no surprise that technology leads the way in the New Year.
Top Travel Trends for 2011
- Mobile Growth: Smart phones are getting smarter. As a result, travelers will see more and better applications in the travel space, and more travelers will book using their mobile devices. Check out Travelocity’s mobile options.
- Increased Sharing: With the emergence of Facebook Places and Facebook Connect, travelers will share their whereabouts and consult their friends for opinions about where they’ve been and what they know before they ever book their travel. For example, travelers can logon to IgoUgo using Facebook Connect.
- Value Retailing: Knowing that more people are traveling yet they’re still conservative on their spend, online travel companies will target cost-conscious travelers with value-adds, innovative product offerings and travel deals.
Other Noteworthy Bites
- Travelers will go to destinations where they can find the best deals. Beaches, like always, will be a popular trip type for travelers. We continue seeing excellent pricing in the Caribbean and Mexico as they compete for the same traveler.
- Las Vegas, an oldie but goodie, continues to reinvent itself. It just opened The Cosmopolitan in the City Center.
- The Royal Wedding is sure to draw more attention to London, and European cruising is also hot right now. Celebrity will have 4 of 5 of their most popular Solstice class ships in Europe this summer.
- Airlines are beginning to add back capacity to accommodate growing demand. We’re generally seeing system capacity up anywhere from 3 percent to 7 percent for major U.S. carriers with load factors hovering around 80 percent.
My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.
(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)
Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!
My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!
Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.
View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!