What is the best way to start the new year? By reading on! This is the first of the year email that shares all the predictions for the year ahead. Year after year we accurately predict 84.8% of the events to come - begging the question, "How can we do this?" Built on a foundation of statistical research, Topaz just happens to have a real crystal ball. I kid you not. It is right here on my desk. I am speaking to it right now. This is what it says:
• Bruce Springsteen will come out with a new solo album and solo tour in the second half of the year with songs dedicated to the state of the world and our political landscape. I will go to at least one show. Maybe more. These solo shows are for hardcore fans only. No "Born to Run" people.
• The past gridlock that has gripped Washington DC will start to thaw, resulting in compromise and actual actions that will benefit our country. Shock will grip the nation. But this only lasts for two months. Then our fine representatives get mad at each other and gridlock happens again. Fun times.
• Load factors by major airlines will begin to drop because travelers will stop traveling. Honestly, they are sick and tired of being treated like crap at the expense of profits.
• Then, business travel will decrease because of the same phenomenon. There is a new idea sweeping the business world that suggests employees should be treated better than crap. Happy employees make for happy companies and happy results. Changes start to show.
• Topaz begins a new research division that sheds much needed focus on the real value of travel, and where value is lost. Changing the way we look at Corporate Travel, it earns accolades because of its innovative perspective.
• The football playoff system in December 2016 will announce the following four playoff teams: Clemson, Stanford, Tennessee and Michigan. Sorry Mary. Stop wearing orange Doug.
• Mobile bookings will begin to outpace all other forms of growth by showing double digit increases in the number of bookings done via a mobile device. Driven mostly by Asia, more adaptations by TMC's across the globe will attempt to meet this changing demand by announcing new and improved methods to book travel.
• 2016 will be marked by an end to any plane crashes. There were way too many crashes in 2015, and that trend will end. Thankfully.
• Greeley and Kurt will invite me back to the Fall Global Conference because they realize audiences love me. Or maybe not. Who knows? The crystal ball is a little cloudy on this one.
• Super Bowl Champions? New England Patriots (Roger does not present the trophy.)
• NBA Champions? Cleveland Cavaliers (Lebron is the real deal.)
• NHL Champions? Washington Capitals (Ovi deserves this one.)
• World Series Champions? NY Mets (Why not?)
• A new ranking system suggesting who are the good and who are the not so good in corporate TMC's is released shaking up the complacency that is our industry.
• The whole battle with open skies and the war on Gulf Carriers will stop. US based carriers will realize they have to win on service and they are subsidized as much as any other carrier.
• Who will be the final two candidates to run for President of the United States? Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. The winner? There is no way I am even going there.
• Airline Loyalty is dead. The masterful creation of loyalty through a frequent flyer program has been diminished and reduced to the point it is not worth it. The pain is too great.
• Terrorism continues to grip the world of travel - with ongoing delays and cancellations - but because of increased attention and scrutiny, traveling will be the safest it has ever been in our lifetime.
• Hotels stop the hidden charges game and begin to voluntarily create transparency for all rates booked.
• Uber goes public and makes a huge payday for the founders.
• Airlines begin double decker seating. Strapped in and can't move - Catheters are provided for a fee to any passenger requesting one.
• We missed this one last year, but maybe this year? Will Farrell returns as Elf to save Christmas. I love Will Farrell.
Have a wonderful 2016!