2012 should be a big year in travel – so I thought I’d join everyone else by making predictions for the forthcoming twelve months in the travel industry. These are based, naturally, on extensive research.
1. QR codes to catch on in a big way. Office watercoolers are likely to buzz with talk of impressive QR codes people have seen in the last few hours, whilst bookings made without scanning a QR code first will dwindle down into single figures.
2. Flash sales to become an even bigger selling tool, as members of the public decide that they prefer to make complex decisions about holidays and put in for leave from work within a 30 minute window of a broadly unavailable offer appearing and disappearing.
3. The world’s first completely unusable luxury design hotel to be launched. Taking current trends to a logical conclusion, the super-stylish £300 a night rooms will have rabid hedgehogs for taps, lights that are remotely controlled by a chimp in a North Korean nuclear bunker, chairs that dissolve when you sit on them and curtains that can only be opened by reciting pi to 247 decimal places in Urdu.
4. Lower profile low cost airlines to introduce real practices such as enforced maiming of infants, waterboarding and dripping battery acid from the overhead compartments. With impunity, as the media will be too busy concentrating on Michael O’Leary’s latest pie in the sky publicity stunt.
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BOOK YOUR OWN ADVENTUREThe following sites are usually my first port of call when booking a trip - so I recommend them as somewhere to start when booking your own holiday.
HOTELS: Hotels.com (£) or Agoda (£)
FLIGHTS: Skyscanner (£) Kayak or Roundtheworldflights.com
CAR HIRE: Car Rentals (£)
GUIDE BOOKS: Amazon (£)
TOURS AND ACTIVITIES: Viator (£)
5. The British Travel Awards to undergo necessary expansion so that it can cover the categories that are currently unrepresented. Such as ‘Best sandwich served on a flight from Doncaster-Sheffield Robin Hood airport on a flight tobetween 1pm and 1.30pm on a Sunday afternoon’, ‘Best endorsement from a member of the Lovejoy cast’ and ‘Best use of Comic Sans font in travel agency shop window’.
6. The end of the air fare. Major airlines to conclude that staff wages, maintenance costs and marketing are all technically ‘fuel’, and should be subsumed in the fuel surcharge.
7. The pernicious nature of the Air Passenger Duty to be proved by hundreds of surveys that ask “Air Passenger Duty exists. Are you watching what you spend at the moment?” and “APD APD APD APD. Do you think about how you’re going to spend your holiday budget?”
8. Outsourcing of Travmedia responses: PR companies to employ children in Bangladesh to send ill-considered and irrelevant responses to every single request made on Travmedia. Ability to write coherently in English and understand the subject matter secondary to ability to type really fast and copy/paste bland quotes from CEOs.
9. Tourist boards to give up actually trying to get people to visit their country in favour of the more important goal – showing other tourist boards that they’ve got the most inventive social media campaign.
10. APD riots. As public anger over Air Passenger Duty swells, the masses take to the streets over six weeks in summer, bringing widespread looting, the fall of the government and borderline anarchy.