Travel services is a diverse and complex industry, composed of segments from the transportation, retail, and service industries. U.S. and international travelers make expenditures in more than a dozen industries. According to the U.S. Travel Data Center, a non-profit research organization, most expenditures on travel are in the following categories:
Public transportation: Airlines, Bus lines and motor coach, Amtrak, Cruise lines, Taxicabs; Automobile transportation: Car rentals, Gasoline service station, RV's and campers; Lodging: Hotels and motels, Campgrounds and trailer parks, Vacation homes (ownership and rental); Food Service: Restaurants, and other food and beverage establishments, Grocery stores; Amusement and recreational services; General retail and merchandise stores; Passenger transportation arrangements.
2006 travel services trends.
Travel agencies now do not sell airline tickets only; their services vary, and many of them provide all-inclusive pacages to a customer. Most travel agencies arrange car rental deals for their customers, and many concentrate on arranging charter or group trips to different destinations. For this, they deal with regular airlines, but many times, they also hire charter airlines. They also process visas as required for international travel.Many travel agencies work exclusively for a small group of airlines, cruise and car hire companies, and often, the logos of the companies they work with are displayed on the windows of the agency's office. Travel agencies also deal with train and hotel companies. Generally, their goal is to try to fit an ideal schedule onto the requirements of each specific customer.
Regardless of where you want to go in 2006, travel services are going to cost more - and require more advanced booking - than ever. Bad news for the consumer is good news for the travel operators and hotels, however. "The travel industry will do really well this year. It's a great time to be an operator in the U.S.," says Jan Freitag, vice president Smith Travel Research. "What that means for the individual is: Book early, book often," he advises.
The travel services trends are the same overseas and especially high demand is predicted in such vacation hot spots as the Caribbean and Europe. And travelers will be paying more for hotel services this year, whether it's in dollars, francs or euros.
The Washington, D.C.-based Travel Industry Association of America predicts that high energy costs, which are pushing up air fares, slower growth in corporate profits and weak CEO confidence will all be factors affecting the tourism trends in 2006. Increasing travel costs led TIA to forecast domestic and international travel spending in the U.S. to increase just 4.4% this year, compared with last year's 7.8% jump.
There is increasing requirements pressure from a number of international bodies including WTO, concerning the travel services trends:
Full disclosure pricing: travel agents and wholesalers must disclose total costs, including all fees and surcharges in their advertisements;
Once consumers pay for travel services, agents must promptly provide a receipt that gives all details of the transaction. Agents must verify all information contained in the ticket, voucher, itinerary, information or documents;
Agents and wholesalers must inform consumers of changes to travel arrangements, including being informed of other options for changing, continuing or canceling the trip.
2006 travel services trends include also a great increase in e-travel services providing. In recent time, tourism providers (hotels, airlines, etc.) have started to sell their services through the internet. Many travel agencies have developed an internet presence by posting a website, with detailed travel information. Full travel booking sites are often complex, and require the assistance of outside travel consolidators. These companies can provide up to the minute, detailed data on tens of thousands of hotel vacancies. Some of the popular online travel sites allow visitors to compare hotel and flight rates with multiple companies. They often allow visitors to sort the travel packages by amenities, price, and or proximity to a city or landmark.