Forecasting 2011

John McMahonJohn McMahonHere’s something that probably is no surprise: I am not Houdini and I can’t pull rabbits out of hats. That’s for sure. I also don’t believe in fortune tellers and when I was told my horoscope was changing in 2011, it didn’t faze me one bit.

Bear with me though: just for fun, I’d like to make some predictions for 2011, mostly based on nothing more than my gut feelings and experience of seeing the tides change in favor of positive growth.

Channeling Carnac the Magnificent…

  • Look for a luxury land-based brand to hit the high seas. 
  • Expect a Groupon-type business model to descend deeper into the luxury travel market.
  • Anticipate lesser-known luxury brands to expand and make bold statements.
  • The airlines will continue to fight the online travel agencies (OTAs) and try to regain control of their inventory—great news for travel advisors.
  • Consortium wars are going to heat up. This is already happening with Tzell’s aggressive buying spree. Look for all of that to come together and make more sense.
  • Younger travel advisors will continue to enter the workplace as others exit.

These are just some predictions. Will they come true? Time will tell.

One person that is usually ahead of the curve on luxury trends and innovation is Azamara Club Cruises’ CEO Larry Pimentel, who is this month’s cover story. I don’t want to take away too much from this fabulous story, which begins on page 66, but one thing I can tell you about Larry is that he is not only a leader in luxury cruising, he is a student of luxury lifestyles. Larry doesn’t look just at the travel industry to get his inspiration; he looks at all things luxury. He studies these verticals inside and out and thrives on learning more about what makes a market leader excel. Larry then applies this knowledge base to his world of luxury cruising. This enables him to do what he does best: innovate and deliver. And, yes, he can pull rabbits out of hats. Take an Azamara Club cruise and you will find out.