Winter Travel Outlook

Ask The Experts: Assessing the Winter Travel OutlookFeatured image

I was recently asked by to forecast winter travel.  See my article, below.

How strong will the 2015 winter travel season be? What trends will emerge in terms of vacation types, destinations and payment methods? And what, ultimately, does all of this tell us about consumer sentiment and the economy?

WalletHub turned to hospitality and travel industry experts for insights into those issues and more. You can find their comments on the following questions below.

  1. What is the winter travel outlook?
  2. What travel trends will be most prominent?
  3. What does the travel outlook say about the economy?

What is the winter travel outlook? 
Linda Kundell – President of Kundell Communications

Travel is often viewed as a discretionary expenditure, and economic indicators point to a healthy 2015 winter travel season. An optimistic jobs outlook, fueled by a strong dollar, along with an expected increase in retail sales, will encourage consumers to satisfy their wanderlust.

What travel trends will be most prominent? 
Some trends that have been on the rise will continue. Travelers will search for more authentic vacations with the accent on experiences. Adventure travel, a focus on local explorations, and food-oriented vacations will satisfy the palates of increasingly sophisticated travelers. Cuba is one destination that embodies these qualities.

Since the U.S. loosened travel restrictions, consumers have been clamoring for Cuba. In fact, one recent survey ranked Cuba as the number two Caribbean destination, after the Dominican Republic. However, while trending, the U.S. market for travel to Cuba will still represent a small segment. Organized tours and cruises will be the most popular way to visit Cuba, as most Americans must participate in a people-to-people or cultural program in order to visit the island country.
Mt Cook_36If the much-anticipated El Nino hits California and western mountains, skiers will return to Northern California areas ,such as Squaw and Heavenly Valleys. Other major ski resorts in North America are anticipating increases of from 9 – 15%.

For those who want to escape the cold, cruises to warm weather are expected to continue strong, as are tours, especially intergenerational. According to new data from, the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, and Hawaii, plus continental U.S. are trending for the coming winter.

And, with air fares to Europe down in the winter months, and the dollar buying even more Euros, this winter will be a good time to visit Europe, especially since more and more U.S. banks are incorporating chip technology – often required abroad — into their credit cards.

Oct. 19, 2015