On a daily basis our agents are asked to predict the future.

“Do you think the fare will stay the same? Or will it go up or down?” 

“If I book on Tuesday and travel on a Wednesday, will that save me money?”

“When should I book this for the best fare?”

Honestly?  While we can make an educated guess from our years of experience as an agency, we ALWAYS say, that it is unpredictable because airfare is a constantly changing thing.  And I can assure you no amount of googling on your part will find a definite answer either.

So how can we possibly write about the forecast for 2020? Well there are some things that are certain and some things that are a given when you know the industry.

Fact: Fares will change. Book your travel.  There is no way to predict fares and their rise and fall.  Our suggestion?  Grab a group contract with us early.  As a premier agency we have multiple options available to your group that will give you peace of mind in the booking process.  Most contracts have utilization dates, deposits that apply to balance and name changes.  This product is ideal for mission groups, medical aid, sports and education groups.

Fact: Legit supply and demand.  Travel is an ever growing industry and because of that, new hotels, new routes and new destinations are constantly being added.  With more supply in the market, rates and fares accommodate to gather business.  HOWEVER, there are exceptions to everything and smaller markets and less travelled to destinations will still trend on the higher side.  Flying into Chicago is different than flying into Cedar Rapids.  If a market has more choices in carriers and hotels, your fares will be lower.  The lower the inventory on flights, the higher your fare.

Fact: Destination is everything.  Hot trending cities in the US are always Orlando, Las Vegas, New Orleans and lately Portland, Oregon, expect those to fare a bit higher at times.  Globally, Greece is on the upswing again early into this year as is Brazil, Israel and the Dominican Republic.  Also, seeing an upturn is Poland.  So you can expect fares to be on an uptick to these destinations.  IF they are on your radar for travel in 2020, plan now.

Fact: There is a medical crisis.  It is everywhere in the news, the Coronavirus.  It has now spread to cases in the United States and the United Kingdom while centralized in China. Many countries are limiting travel to and from China, while others are suspending travel altogether.  Before this, other illnesses such as SARS limited travel as well.  This virus is new enough that extreme precautions are being taken.  It is hard to know who was seated in your plane prior to you boarding, so precautions are being added to sanitizing seats and encouraging the wearing of masks and excessive handwashing. So if you are travelling, follow the guidelines that the CDC is putting out there.

Fact: Travel Insurance.  There is actually information to support that many people who haven’t flown with travel insurance before are purchasing the insurance as a precaution now.  Given the unrest in the Middle East, the above mentioned medical crisis and growing concerns about anything unexpected, there is a 25% upswing expected in the industry.

Fact: Gas prices do not make sense.  The simple measure should be this, if your gas prices are going down, it is possible that jet fuel will as well.  Logical right?  But not always true.  Because of the type of fuel that jets use is specialized in its formulation and contains a higher amount of hydrocarbons and is manufactured differently.  So depending on that process and how it impacts the fuel is where you gauge your difference.  It is likely that auto fuel being lower will impact jet fuel but not always.  So the rule of thumb is stop watching the pump to determine your airline fares.

Fact: DIY is trendy, but not always a good trend to follow.  Do you know how many times we hear “well I have been shopping around and looking online for fares and this is just too high.”  Based on what?  The one passenger published fare that you found that is basic economy with 3 stops and long layovers?  We handle individual as well as group fares for our many clients.  What we do know is that group leaders who opt to self-book, tend to call us up with the “I should have called you to start with” crisis on their hands.  We are here FOR you.  Our experience should be the first place you call and here is why.  We have every flight in front of us and we can tell you the best flights, best fares and best options for your group.  We manage everything for you and take the work off of you as a group leader.  Pretty much all you have to do is say yes to your contract, sign paperwork, provide the funding and gather names and birthdates of your group.  We handle everything else.  In the world of DIY, we would be HGTV.

So there are few things to ponder as you look forward to a year of travel.