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The Hottest Winter Destinations

by Lux Joseph 5. November 2014

As we enter into the winter season, Commercial Medical Escorts will see a shift in the destinations in which we are picking up patients. This happens several different times throughout the year and it is based primarily on travel trends and where tourists travel at different times throughout the year. To understand this upcoming winter travel destinations we took the opportunity to speak with CEO McNamara of Sky Cap Corp, a travel management company based in South Florida that specializes in travel for travel assistance, medical escort, and air ambulance companies.

Sky Cap Corp stated that based on bookings by members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Orlando is clearly the most popular domestic destination for the 2014-2015 winter season. Orlando was chosen by 41 percent of the respondents in ASTA’s 2014 Hot Spots for Winter survey, followed by Las Vegas (13%), New York City (6%), Miami (5%), Honolulu (3%), San Francisco (3%), Fort Myers (3%), Los Angeles 3%), Maui (3%) and San Diego (2%). 

 “Orlando and Las Vegas remain on top for winter vacation spots as warm and fun places to escape winter," said Mr. McNamara, Sky Cap Corp President and CEO. “Agents say both locations have a great variety of activities that can meet the needs of young people, extended families and couples.” The top 10 domestic destination cities for Winter are the same as the Summer top 10 with the exception of Fort Myers and Maui replacing New Orleans and Washington, D.C. When asked about the top state destinations, Florida, led by Orlando, topped with a 58 percent share. Rounding out the top five state destinations for winter travel are Hawaii (20%), California (10%), Nevada (3%) and New York (2%). Florida and Hawaii have a much stronger share in the winter compared to summer.

For those who look forward to international travel this winter, travel agents choose Cancun as the most popular international destination for the 2014-2015 winter season. Cancun was chosen by 24 percent of respondents to ASTA’s 2014 Hot Spots for Winter Survey, up from only 5 percent in the summer version of the survey. Rounding out the top 10 destinations for winter are Rome (16%), London (11%), Paris (9%), Sydney (3%), Barcelona (3%), Montego Bay (3%), Riviera Maya (3%), Punta Cana (2%) and Cape Town (1%).

 “Cancun came out as the clear winter vacation destination desired by our member’s clients for obvious reason,” said Mr. McNamara.  “Cancun is easily accessible from the U.S., has a plethora of all-inclusive resorts, a warm climate and beautiful beaches.” The top 10 international destination cities in the winter survey are the same as the summer top 10 with the exception of Sydney and Cape Town replacing Amsterdam and Madrid. Sydney and Cape Town, as Southern Hemisphere cities, are deemed best visited during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

When asked about the top country/region destinations, Mexico, led by Cancun, topped with a 24 percent share. Rounding out the top five country/region destinations for winter travel are Italy (18%), the Caribbean (12%), France (7%) and United Kingdom (6%).

Survey data was collected through the 2014 ASTA Research Family from July through August 2014. This survey has a 95 percent rate confidence with an error rate +/-5 percent.

Trends in Travel for 2014

by Lux Joseph 27. December 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, we begin to look at 2014 and what is to be projected for Commercial Medical Escorts and the travel industry.  Understanding your customer is important to success as a business owner and especially a business that is focused around customer service. Our customer base changes each and every year. Many businesses categorize their customer base by demographics, but travel is more than just demographics.

Every traveler has preferences and those preferences differ among demographics, psychographics, and the current desires of the traveler. Most people have a bucket list of the things they want to accomplish during their lifetime. Within that bucket list people have a travel bucket list that is forever growing and developing. At Commercial Medical Escorts (CME) we are moving patients from different destinations around the world every week. As travelers add to their bucket list for travel, they add new possible opportunities for CME. Want to go to the Neptune Islands in Australia to cage dive with Great White Sharks? Or maybe you have zip lining in Costa Rica to check off? While we do not wish the worst to happen to people when they travel, we do know our service is desired during a time of need.

Travel Leaders Group agents, the division that our travel department is part of, state that 94% of their clients will spend the same or more on travel in 2014. In 2013 that percentage was 92.2% and in 2012 it was 91.3%. Seeing positive growth in the beginning of 2014 establishes a level of confidence among travel professionals. Even with the economy not being on a positive growth it is great to see the industry that CME works alongside with optimistic trends for 2014. The data is representative of 1,358 U.S. based travel agency owners, managers, and front line agents from the Travel Leaders brand.

 

People will always be traveling. Whether they are traveling for business or pleasure, people are always on the run. During times when our economy isn’t as strong we see trends towards slower growth or decline in business, but every time a business sees or projects a decline in revenue, it is an opportunity to explore different avenues for profit. Airlines took advantage of this with the additional perks they add to purchasing an airline ticket. Ancillary fees exist for checking your bags, priority boarding, changing your flights, special seat assignment, and even special snacks on board the airplane. In 2014, we wonder what additional fees or perks may be new to the business traveler.

 

From a global perspective, 2014 brings changes to the travel world as well. Sabre Travel Network states that China will overtake the US in total business travel spent in 2014. Russia is also working on making visa free travel to the EU. At the same time many countries are working on evaluating their entry programs to increase visitors and provide entry requirements that are not as strict. Some tips to consider when booking travel in 2014:

·         Mondays appear to be the most expensive day for air, hotel, and car bookings

·         Avoid travel consumption on Mondays, followed by Fridays

·         For cars, the cheapest day is Saturday

·         For hotels, the cheapest day is on Tuesdays

 

Look at 2014 as a fresh start. Become organized when making your travel arrangements. Think ahead and anticipate things before they happen. Commercial Medical Escorts looks forward to what 2014 will bring. These trends are only a projection as to what will happen. Safe travels around the New Year and should you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are available to bring your loved one home for the holiday.

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Tips

by Lux Joseph 22. November 2013

One of the busiest travel times of the year is just around the corner. Typically when there is a high volume of travelers it tends to be a direct correlation to how busy Commercial Medical Escorts is. When individuals are traveling, that is when our service is needed most. While for many Thanksgiving is a holiday and time away from the office, CME is still open and ready to assist those travelers in need of our service. CME is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. There isn’t a moment when our operations team cannot be reached to further assist you.

A couple weeks ago I discussed the history of travel during Thanksgiving and the positive trends in air travel as reported by ARC. However, AAA is showing something a little different. AAA reports that 43.4 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 44 million people who traveled last year. AAA believes that this decline is due to a slow recovering economy. Although our economy is currently not in a recession, it is slowly recovering from the recession that we experienced in 2008-2009. With a slowly recovering economy consumers have uncertainty of what is going to happen and therefore are cautious with their spending. For those traveling by car, it appears as those the gas prices have had a slight decline in the last couple of months with the average price in Florida at $3.34 gallon.

Although AAA is report a decline travel, that doesn’t mean the roads and airports will not be busy so we encourage you to follow the following holiday travel tips:

·         Arrive Early- TSA can get backed up during heavy travel times, but especially during the holidays. Arriving early at the airport will ensure you have plenty of time to check-in, clear security and relax prior to your flight. Wednesday is the busiest day for travel and you should anticipate long lines. If you are not checking any luggage, check in on your mobile device or online and print your boarding pass. Skipping the check-in counter will save you time.

·         Be Flexible- traveling during the holidays can be hectic and bring unforeseen changes to your travel schedule. Your flight may be affected by a snowstorm or weather from a different area that will affect your flight. Understand that this is to be expected and know that the agent at the counter is not responsible for this so be patient and respectful. If you used a travel agent for your booking, contact them immediately when there is a change in schedule or canceled flight. They can hold you on the next flight.

·         Pack Accordingly- keep in mind that almost every airline is now charging to check your bags to your final destination. This doesn’t mean over pack your carry on luggage so that it is so big it cannot fit in the overhead space and you upset a long line of customers waiting to board. When it isn’t busy you may be able to get all the way to the gate with oversized carry on bags before they are identified, but during the holidays TSA will be stepping up enforcement to assist the airlines

·         Avoid Driving to the Airport- an increased number of travelers will be going to the airport during the holidays and that means airport parking will be very limited. If you do drive, you may be forced to pay holiday parking prices, limited to only off-site parking lots if the regular lots are filled, and this may cause unnecessary stress. Consider asking a friend or family member to drive you, use a private car service, or even look into public transportation. 

·         Do Not Wrap Gifts- if you are traveling with gifts, do not waste your time wrapping them. If TSA doesn’t like what they see in the scanner, they will unwrap it. It would be best to send them by mail via USPS, FedEx or UPS, but if that isn’t an option TSA suggests waiting until your final destination to wrap them.

·         Remaining Calm- many of our previous blog entries have discussed the anxiety and stress that comes along with traveling. It is important to bring things with you that may eliminate those feelings. If music relaxes you, make sure to bring your iPod and headphones. If reading calms you, bring your book to read in the terminal. Consider getting some earplugs so you can zone out the distractions around you.

 

At Commercial Medical Escorts, traveling is a part of our every day lives. Each travel season, AAA will provide a forecast of what to expect. This forecast is a good insight to the travel season and what can be expected. Highlights from this report include:

·         Thanksgiving travelers to total 43.4 million, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 44 million who traveled last year

·         Ninety percent of travelers or 38.9 million to travel by automobile, a decline of 1.6 percent

·         Median spending expected to drop nearly seven percent to $465, compared to $498 last year.

·         The Thanksgiving holiday is a less expensive holiday for travelers compared to other holidays. This year Labor Day spending was expected to be $804, Independence Day $749 and Memorial Day $659.

·         Holiday air travel to decline 3.7 percent to 3.14 million travelers from 3.26 million in 2012

·         Average distance traveled to increase to 601 miles from 588 miles.

·         The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the busiest single day of travel with 37 percent of travelers departing for trips Nov. 27.

 

To read the full report visit www.AAA.com  or click on this link: http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/6-Thanksgiving_2013_Final.pdf.


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