10 biggest changes in travel in the past 10 years

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    It turns out I've been writing about the challenges facing travelers in this space for 10 years now. That's about 120 columns, approximately 12,000 words and a heap of spirited reader comments. This milestone spurred me to consider what the truly monumental trends have been over the past decade for consumers seeking safe, reliable, economic travel choices.

    A la carte pricing. From airlines to cruise lines to hotels to rental cars, today the final price almost always comes with add-ons. In fact, it's hard to find a bigger game-changer for travelers than the way in which they're being billed. The term "bottom-line price" has become more and more elusive since Spirit Airlines opened the floodgates with a domestic fee for first checked bags back in 2007. Sure, airlines generate most of the ancillary-revenue press attention, to the tune of about $36.1 billion last year. But unbundling pricing has become ubiquitous in travel: Many cruises are no longer all-inclusive, with fees for early boarding and faster luggage delivery, while hotel chains have learned to add on resort fees, processing fees, housekeeping fees, etc. And as I noted here in 2010, the car-rental industry has embraced fees in a big way. Remember when roadside assistance was free? That was before energy surcharges, mileage caps, peak surcharges, frequent traveler service charges, even EARLY return fees.

    Industry consolidation. Recently a cottage industry of airline executives, analysts and even some politicians have been positing that less competition will be advantageous for consumers, an argument tantamount with saying that heavy rains make for a fun picnic. Most travelers are aware of airline consolidation, and if the American-US Airways merger is approved, the nation's eight largest network airlines in 2001 will have dwindled down to three, as the US Airways brand disappears along with TWA, America West, Northwest and Continental. But much less quietly, the car rental industry has been completely remade by a decade of mergers and acquisitions. According to Auto Rental News, the 10 largest rental firms in the United States are now controlled by three corporations: Enterprise owns both National and Alamo; Hertz owns Advantage, Dollar and Thrifty; while Avis owns Budget and—surprise—just announced it is poised to acquire Zipcar as well.

    Growth sectors. While some aspects of travel have waned, other sectors clearly are on the rise. We've seen the dramatic rise of low-fare bus travel; the increased outsourcing from mainline airlines to regional carriers; and the upsurge in cruising.

    Read More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...anges-in-travel-in-the-past-10-years/2107309/
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