Travel Leaders’ Roger Block Predicts Strong Year for Travel in 2017

by James Shillinglaw
Travel Leaders’ Roger Block Predicts Strong Year for Travel in 2017


What’s the outlook for 2017 after last week’s U.S. presidential election? Travel Leaders Associates held its annual conference last week immediately following the election, and the answer is “so far, so good,” according to the group’s president, Roger Block.

That should come as good news following a 2016 travel year that was dampened by terrorism incidents in Europe and the uncertainty caused by the presidential election itself. “You know 2016 was a very interesting year, it started out strong and then unfortunately the incident in Paris happened and bookings for Europe, river, escorted and Med fell off,” Block said. “I think you can talk to almost every single operator and hear that. But Alaska and some other perceived safe destinations did very, very well.”

Block also believes the presidential election itself affected travel bookings. “There was an awful lot of uncertainty as to what the future was going to hold and which way was the country going to go,” he said.

But heading into 2017, Block said the outlook is bright, barring any more terrorism incidents. “In talking with our agents over the last few days, Europe seems to be rebounding and the Med seems to be rebounding,” he said. “It really depends on what happens with the new Trump administration. But if certain things happen, such as he really is a pro-business and pro-growth, and if people feel stronger about the economy and have confidence in the future, I think 2017 could be one of the best years we’ve seen in this industry.”

Asked where he is seeing strength in bookings for 2017, Block says it’s in the premium and luxury segments. “Bookings in October were soft but prior to that we were seeing a build-up for more luxury products going forward, which is a great sign,” he said. “And sun and fun continues to be strong.”

Another segment that’s showing strength is corporate travel, even immediately after the election. “Some of our corporate-focused agents said after the election bookings just came in,” Block says. “People were definitely waiting for the election. You wouldn’t think it would have that big of an impact on normal business trips, but obviously it did. So we’re pretty excited about what 2017 could bring for both the leisure and corporate markets.”

Indeed, Block says that smaller and mid-sized travel agencies that book corporate travel could see a surge of interest based on what Travel Leaders’ members are experiencing: “We did an analysis of the corporate market, and air sales in particular. They break sales down by mega-agencies, online agencies and other, which is smaller agencies like our members. Mega agencies and online agencies were flat, but the ‘other’ category was up 12%. That’s basically saying the types of services we offer are really resonating with the customer.”

All in all, Block says he is extremely optimistic for 2017. “I was talking to our agents, and their folks back home, and the phones are starting to ring,” he says. “So knock on wood, 2017 could be a very strong year.”

  2
  0
Tip of the Day

A common scam involves a call from what is apparently the hotel front desk asking for your credit card number confirmation. When the number they claim to have is confirmed wrong, they request the correct number.

 

Eran Feinstein 

Daily Top List

The World’s Top Five Airports

1. Changi Airport, Singapore

2. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

3. Zurich Airport, Switzerland

4. Hamad International Airport, Doha

5. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Source: Wanderlust

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Sandals Reveals Details Of New St. Lucia Resort
Sandals Reveals Details Of New St. Lucia Resort

The Jamaican resorts operator shared plans for its new all-suite Sandals LaSource St. Lucia.

InterContinental Hotels Group’s New Brand Targets Growing Midscale Market
InterContinental Hotels Group’s New Brand Targets Growing Midscale Market

Holilday Inn parent announced plans for a new brand targeting more than 14 million guests in the $20 billion U.S. market.

Universal Orlando Sets Its Sights Higher
Universal Orlando Sets Its Sights Higher

From private cabanas to VIP Experiences, touches of luxury, hand-holding and line-jumping can make the Universal Orlando experience something completely different from that of the hoi polloi.

Disney Dining Plan To Include Alcoholic Drinks For The First Time
Disney Dining Plan To Include Alcoholic Drinks For The First Time

Park goers can choose an alcoholic beverage or specialty beverage with their meals beginning in 2018.

Will Travel Agents Benefit From Hyatt/Expedia Tiff?
Will Travel Agents Benefit From Hyatt/Expedia Tiff?

In a letter to hotel owners, Hyatt says it will shift some marketing efforts to travel agencies.

After President Trump’s Rollback, Marriott’s Future In Cuba Uncertain
After President Trump’s Rollback, Marriott’s Future In Cuba Uncertain

Marriott currently has plans for three hotels in Cuba.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: American Queen Steamboat Company