Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Travel industry update: Six great reads

April 7, 2017

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As summer travel season approaches, here are six must-read articles to inspire your own reporting. ("Beach chairs on Sand" image by "williamsthomas310" via flickr CC BY 2.0)
As summer travel season approaches, here are six must-read articles to inspire your own reporting. ("Beach chairs on Sand" image by "williamsthomas310" via flickr CC BY 2.0)

As the year’s big travel season approaches, business writers looking for new story angles should read-up on the latest trends and predictions for the tourism industry. These six articles will give you excellent background and insights before jumping into your own reporting.

Infrastructure challenges

Industry bible devoted a big chunk of space to 2017 predictions, and warns that seven years of increasing hotel room demand in the U.S. hospitality market is about to come to an end. The fallout from Brexit, Trump’s promised investment in the country’s airports and a nationwide pilot shortage (along with subsequent threat to regional airlines) are among the weighty travel topics tackled by the experts.

The New York Times’ Your 2017 Summer Forecast paints an intriguing picture of minor shifts and major changes. Stephanie Rosenbloom’s article says that changes are a’coming in all arenas. In the skies: both comfier seating and facilities for business class travelers, and bare-bones flights for budget-minded. In hotels: Reworked rewards programs and Marriott’s gargantuan portfolio. In theme parks: Bioluminescent forests and a VR roller-coaster.

Also noting big trends, Angelina Villa-Clarke writes in that the whole idea of the luxury hotel is getting a rethink, as simple and serene replaces over-the-top opulent. Other developments include the edible resort (inns located in vineyards, urban hotels topped with herb gardens, golf courses “mowed” by goats) and an increase in polar travel, where the depletion of summer ice ironically allows more leisure travelers to visit the region.

At U.S. News and World Report, predictions for 2017 run the gamut from the rise of artificial intelligence (even Expedia is launching an AI feature to help with bookings) to a major shift in airline loyalty programs. Reporter Liz Weiss also touches on the prospects for travel to Cuba, given the new administration, as well as the growing popularity of low-impact getaways.

Urban shifts and the rise of VR

Global hospitality news site says there are big things ahead for intercity buses in Europe. More urban predictions: the growth of the serviced apartment, along with “city greeters” to welcome visitors to town, organize cleaning services and help with food delivery. It also predicts a return to travel bookings with a human touch, although travel agents will most likely be reached via an app.

And if you’re curious about how virtual reality will impact the future of tourism, this article from Campaign US, a news organ of the ad industry, should shed some light. Several airlines are experimenting with VR to inspire people to get off their couches and travel, not only by strapping on goggles but by entering kiosks where VR films are shown in a 360-degree spherical display.

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