The U.S. travel industry is expected to continue growing in 2014, as consumers are increasingly becoming more confident in the economy and are comfortable spending more of their discretionary income on travel. According to a new survey from Travel Leaders Group — which is based on actual booking data — 85.7% of travel agents indicate that 2014 bookings are on par or greater than this time one year ago and 94% of those surveyed state client spending will be the same or higher in the new year.
Top Domestic Destinations 2014 — Based on Actual Bookings:
- Las Vegas, NV (Ranked #2 in 2013)
- Orlando, FL (#1 in 2013)
- Maui, HI (tied for 3rd)
- Cruise — Alaska (tied for 3rd)
- New York City, NY (#5)
- Honolulu, HI (#6)
- San Francisco, CA (#7)
- Fort Lauderdale, FL (#11)
- Cruise — Hawaii (#12)
- Los Angeles, CA (#10)
Cruise Critic, a cruise reviews site, recently released its top cruise trends for 2014, based on industry insight and consumer habits. Trends expected to be big include:
- Build-your-own cruise deals, allowing guests to personalize their experience
- Shorter two- to four-day cruises, great for local residents or new-to-cruise travelers
- New, more immersive shore experiences offered by the cruise line to give a genuine taste of the port
- More inclusivity options with river cruising, as the segment continues to rise in popularity
For the second consecutive year, over one-third (35.7%) of business travelers surveyed said they will travel more in the new year than the previous one, while almost half (47.2%) said they will travel the same amount.
Other key findings of the survey include:
- Hotels and airlines need to do far more to ensure a more consistent experience for travelers, as 88% of hotel guests and 76% of airline passengers say their experiences are inconsistent. In 2012, 83% of hotel guests and 77% of airline passengers had similar complaints.
- Business travelers are more loyal to airline programs than they are to hotel loyalty programs but not as much as 2012's respondents. Almost 75% said they would fly with a preferred airline or alliance even if a flight were not as convenient (80% in 2012), compared to the 45% who said they would stay at a less-conveniently situated hotel in order to stay with a particular brand (58% a year ago).
- Wi-Fi continues to impact buying decisions. One quarter of survey respondents who use it say that the availability of in-flight Wi-Fi impacts their choice of airline and flight while 73% say that they look for free Wi-Fi when selecting a hotel.[Source: "2014 Travel Trends Survey." Travel Leaders Group. 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013; Survey conducted by Cruise Critic/The Independent Traveler, a subsidiary of TripAdvisor. 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013; Survey conducted by Frequent Business Traveler. 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013.]