Reading Travel Trends, Harry Potter at Universal and Jim's deal of the day
On the one hand, things are terrible. On the other, they're looking up. Yet they're still really bad.
It gets tough reading the old tea leaves in the travel biz these days, as evidenced by the flurry of good news/terrible news emails that came over the wires on a Tuesday morning in mid-September.
First the good news, at least for consumers. Hotels.ca and hotels.com say the average price of a hotel room around the world fell by 17 per cent in the first half of this year. Prices in Latin America (their words, not mine) fell 18 per cent, while North America prices were down 17 per cent and Europe down 16 per cent. Hotels in the Caribbean, however, and this is interesting, dropped just 2 per cent.
As for individual cities, they said rates were down 12 per cent in Vienna and 11 per cent in both Dublin and Florence. Milan rates dropped nine per cent, while those in Madrid dropped just 5 per cent.
Here in Canada, there were reports Air Canada said its traffic fell less than one percentage point in August, compared to 3.3 per cent in July and 9.1 per cent in June. WestJet, just to continue the good news/not so good pattern, found traffic fell 4.7 per cent in August, compared to the same in July and compared to a 7.1 per cent fall in June.
Cameron Doerksen, an analyst with Versant Partners, told the FInancial Post that the latest news in Canada "may be a sign that the bottom has been reached."
Yet a few minutes after I read that report, I saw something that said business travel to Britain dropped by 25 per cent in the first six months of this year. So go figure what it all means.
Finally, it might be time to lock in your cruise for the winter. Travel Weekly says Oceania Cruises raised their prices a whopping 40 per cent on Sept. 1 for its 2010 departures. They said another price hike is coming in January, this after what they said was a record-breaking month of August.
Travel Weekly quoted officials in the industry as saying that cruise ticket prices are "beginning to show some sequential improvement," which in industry jargon means higher prices; good for them, bad for us.
Universal Orlando folks today unveiled details about the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure. They're promising a "one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple attractions, shops and a signature eating establishment."
Hogwarts hot dogs? Muggles muffins?
All prices 9-3/4?
Anyway, they said there will be a Hogwarts Express, Zonko's joke shop, Honeydukes, The Owlery and Dragon Challenge, a twin, high-speed roller coaster with "many iconic elements from the Triwizard Tournament."
I only read one of the books but it sounds pretty cool. They might just make some money off it, too.
JIM'S DEAL OF THE DAY
You might not associate an off-the-beaten-track destination like