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August 31, 2009

Summer Travel Blues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris @ 2:21 pm

Hey BAT Readers!

Here we are in tail end of the dog days of summer in the midst of a recession that won’t stop dogging us! (I recently heard Joie de Vivre hotels CEO  Chip Conley refer to the situation as a “repression”— a combination of a recession and a depression!) We were hoping that summer was going to be a turning point or a bottom to the travel industry’s tailspin, but based on recently released 2nd quarter numbers from airlines and hotel chains, we just are not there yet. Airline revenue is down about 25% compared to this time last year. Average hotel rates have declined below $100 per night-– for the first time since 2007 (currently at about $97).

Business travel is still in the pits. Leisure travel is a hair better, but still not good. It seems like the travel industry is stuck in a “less worse” situation. But…bad industry news is good for consumers, at least in the short run…airfares are exceptionally low as are hotel rates nearly everywhere. Airport security lines are no longer an issue (except on Sunday afternoons!) Airline and hotel employees are treating customers a lot better for the most part.

Longer term, the news is not so good for consumers who should expect fewer flights on older, smaller and dirtier planes. Ancillary fees will continue to bloat. Hotels could start to appear frayed and tatty as renovations get postponed and staff get overworked. Rental cars might get older, smellier and clunkier.

Wish we had better news! For now, we’ll keep muddling through and chronicling all the changes for you, dear readers. Thanks for tuning in!

Chris McGinnis

Check out my latest travel tips segment on TV




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