Five predictions for the European travel market

The end of the year is the time for all kinds of predictions for the next one. Usually, I treat such conjecture as the bullshit that it is, but when PhoCusWright puts out a list of what’ll happen for the travel market, I tend to take it a little much more seriously.

The worldwide recession is still squeezing the European travel market, but the online sector is likely to be the star next year, as it was in 2009. Consumers are turning to the web more and more to book their travel in Europe, and this will have a profound effect on how travel products and services are sold.

1. Up a third: PhoCusWright forecasts that the online segment of the travel market will hit 34 percent of the entire industry in Europe in 2010. Customers will turn to the internet to find better bargains, accelerating the shift from offline to online. At the end of 2008, online accounted for only 28% of European travel sales.

2. Priceline’s the one to beat: Priceline has lagged the three largest online travel agencies – Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity – for years, but Priceline has seized some serious market share through the travel recession, due in large part to its acquisition of European company Priceline could take the #2 spot next year and will be well-positioned for the future.3. Metasearch arrival: Finally, there will be a solution to the fragmented online travel market! PhoCusWright forecasts the growth of sites that search across sites, which makes sense given that financial concerns are driving travel buyers to the web instead of traditional venues. There’s demand already, and economic conditions will feed the trend.

4. Big in Germany: Germany’s been gaining ground in the European travel market. In 2008, the country was responsible for only 17 percent of the space. Look for it to hit 20 percent by 2011, PhoCusWright says.

5. Look south for sunshine: Online penetration has topped 40 percent in the United Kingdom, and France and Germany are making progress. The easy wins are in the past. So, the travel business is looking toward the emerging travel markets of Europe: in the south and east.

There’s plenty on the agenda for the European travel market next year. Even in what will continue to be a tight economic environment, there’s plenty of room for growth. No doubt, the most important factor will be the recession, which will shape travel company behavior by driving buyers to seek better deals. The perception that online is the place to save will accelerate the push to electrons.

Orbitz reveals which airports to avoid this Thanksgiving

As we slowly head into the worst time of year to be traveling, Orbitz has revealed which airports to avoid this Thanksgiving.

The list is not really filled with any surprises, but it is always nice to see some solid research done by those that actually have the data needed to make a top ten like this.

Of course, as with any busy time of year, it pays to be prepared. Know how to pack, know the current TSA rules, and know how to control your anger when you arrive at the airport and find that it looks like something out of a disaster movie.

Here are the top ten “Orbitz Insider” busiest airports for Thanksgiving 2009.

  1. Chicago, IL – Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
  2. Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles International (LAX)
  3. Denver, CO – Denver International (DEN)
  4. San Francisco, CA – San Francisco International (SFO)
  5. Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Hartsfield International (ATL)
  6. Boston, MA – Boston Logan International (BOS)
  7. New York, NY – New York LaGuardia (LGA)
  8. New York, NY – New York John F. Kennedy International (JFK)
  9. Newark, NJ – Newark Liberty International (EWR)
  10. Seattle, WA – Seattle Tacoma International (SEA)

If you have already booked a flight in or out one of these airports, well, then it sucks to be you. All is not lost for those still waiting to book – Orbitz also compiled a list of the 10 least busy airports.

  1. San Jose, CA – San Jose International (SJC)
  2. Nashville, TN – Nashville International (BNA)
  3. Richmond, VA – Richmond International (RIC)
  4. Sacramento, CA – Sacramento International (SMF)
  5. Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville International (JAX)
  6. West Palm Beach, FL – Palm Beach International (PBI)
  7. Hartford, CT – Bradley International (BDL)
  8. Orange County, CA – John Wayne International (SNA)
  9. Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG)
  10. Fort Myers, FL – Southwest Florida Regional (RSW)

Armed with this this information, smart travelers who hate crowds may be able to book themselves out of alternate airports. Anyone in the New York area is pretty much screwed – LaGuardia, JFK and Newark are all in the top 10, but it is a relatively short drive to White Plains Westchester airport. Passengers planning to avoid LAX may be better off with flights out of Burbank or Orange County and Chicago passengers may be able to find a better flight out of Midway (I doubt it though).

You’ll find the complete list of busy Thanksgiving airports over at the Orbitz blog.



Online bookings just got cheaper!

Online travel deals just got better. Even though airlines are tacking on extra fees, fares have been plunging for a while now, so it still cuts in favor of travelers. Travel websites have started to get in on the savings, too. Several sites are ditching their booking fees – at least temporarily.

Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia announced yesterday that they are waiving their booking fees. For Orbitz, this is a permanent move. In the hypercompetitive world of online travel sales, these guys are doing everything they can to get your travel dollars. So, if you’ve been waiting to save even more money on travel – as if the dirt-cheap fares aren’t enough – the deal just got a little better!

[Via BloggingStocks]