What’s Trending in Consumer Media: Wedding Registries, Retirees Take Travel Jobs, & Moreby Daniel McCarthy /
To help travel advisors keep tabs on what their clients are reading, Travel Market Report sifted through the countless consumer travel headlines this month to find the best ones to get you informed on what consumers are thinking, what experts are saying about the industry, ,and more. Here are five stories to keep you informed and entertained for August.
“Forget the fine china; more couples are asking for travel funds on their wedding registry” - USA Today
No one who works in the travel industry, or has traveled anytime in the past two years, should be surprised at the continued emphasis on experiences and services over goods for consumer spending.
A new piece in USA Today this week speaks on how that trend is bleeding over into spending that traditionally went to Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s or any other of the big department stories—wedding registries.
According to the article, which takes data from a study by wedding website The Knot, “7 of every 10 couples in 2021 were registering for cash gifts, up 10% from the previous year. These gifts include gift cards or destination-specific experiences such as a snorkel tour in Hawaii or a private gondola ride in Venice.”
“Silver-Haired and Shameless About Perks: Retirees Take Part-time Work in the Travel Industry” – New York Times
Another trend that has dominated travel industry talks this year is staffing shortages. Being able to get people back to work at airports, on cruise ships, and in travel agencies has been a major topic of discussion inside the trade, especially among advisors who have had to answer questions from clients about airport delays and possible large scale flight cancellations.
The New York Times this week took a look at some retirees who are jumping back into the workforce, targeting jobs inside the travel industry not for the pay or the benefits, but for the perks.
The story centers around one couple who is “part of a growing class of auxiliary travel workers who are stepping in as airlines and hotels, already struggling with thinned ranks after mass layoffs in 2020, and now contend with the great resignation of employees. Many of these new workers are seasoned, silver-haired and shameless about the fact that they’re in it for the perks.
“Why I'll never travel without an Apple AirTag in my luggage again” - Business Insider
I don’t know of any frequent travelers who would recommend checking luggage on a flight. However, with the trend towards longer trips to more exotic locations alive and well, it’s not always possible to simply travel with a carry-on.
Something that was just a small part of the travel chaos that so many experienced this summer was the loss of that checked luggage—according to this Business Insider article, lost luggage claims have surged 30% this summer.
One solution that appears to be trendy amongst consumers, especially those who are in the Apple ecosystem, the $29 Apple AirTags, which allow you to track luggage through the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad.
“Revenge Travel May Be a Big Problem for Places Like Thailand's Famous Maya Bay” - TIME
Some more coverage on what travel advisors know—revenge travel is very much a real thing, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Prior to the pandemic, the dangers of over-tourism, and how destinations were battling it, were topics consistently brought up.
Now, with travel demand unleashed and COVID-19 rules impacting the industry seems less and less by the day, the conversation about the dangers of over-tourism is coming back, including in Thailand’s Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands, a location made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach, which just reopened to tourists in January 2022.
Here’s what TIME had to say: "Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine scientist at Kasetsart University in Bangkok and an expert on Maya Bay, tells TIME that 70-80% of the cove’s coral reefs were intact 30 years ago. When the bay was closed in 2018, only 8% of the reefs were alive. During the three-year closure, Thon and others replanted tens of thousands of new pieces of coral and about 50% of those have survived.”
“Travel agent sentenced to federal prison, ordered to pay $400k in restitution” – ABC Baltimore News
Just as the travel trade isn’t immune to staffing shortages, it also is just as susceptible to cases like this. ABC Baltimore this week reported on the continuing saga of a cruise travel agent, accused of fraud, who will now serve more than three years in federal prison and pay nearly $433,000 in restitution.
The case boiled down to, according to ABC, the travel advisor “using customers’ credit cards to make Ponzi-style payments on other client’s reservations.”
“WMAR-2 News exposed this operation in 2019 when customers sent invoices from Norwegian Cruise Line to Sofastaii. Their trips had been canceled after Hopkins was suspected of committing credit card fraud. In one example, Hopkins sold a trip for $2,300, but it actually totaled $7,000. Of the 12 payments cards used to book the reservation, only three belonged to the customer,” ABC reported.