Topaz News

1. The Department of Transportation will ban all animals on flights following the brutal attack by a fake service animal that was claimed to be on board for service/emotional support. This attack was carried out by a turkey that was on board to provide emotional support to the passenger who was unable to control the animal. Control a turkey? Surprise!

2. Airlines begin to realize that they have created a poor product in coach, resulting in increased dissatisfaction and anger amongst travelers. 2017 marks the beginning of a renewed effort to provide better service, more room, and greater focus on economy passengers. Coach passengers will be boarding first now and have access to all overhead bins. And hot meals. And foot rubs.

If you believe that you are crazy.

3. Line shuffling begins. The increasing popularity of TSA pre-check results in lines that are longer and longer, causing the dreaded "which line should I go into" to get through security. Very similar to that choice we have to make when at your local grocery store. If you are anything like me, you will chose incorrectly and get into the slowest line.

4. Tourism will decline dramatically in the United States. The combination of increasing airfares, poor currency conversion, and fear of domestic and international terrorism will result in more people staying home. More people will go to Canada. The birthplace of hockey celebrates their 150th birthday this year and people across the world want to celebrate with them. Take off, Eh?

5. The popularity of Uber and Lyft, and the ease to reach the places that business travelers need to reach, will result in further declines in car rentals. The friction of renting a car becomes too much for most of us, including add on fees, up-selling to unneeded luxury cars, and refueling.

6. 2017 is the year that people realize the old way of doing things is not the way you can do it anymore. Time is the key factor to tie business travel to employee productivity.

7. Finally, we can forget about all the usernames and passwords as websites move towards finger prints for access to all secure websites and apps. Fingerprints are unique, right?

8. Further declines in the sales of laptops and desktops will continue as the movement by youth to only doing business on their iPhones and androids continues to overtake the world.

9. Additional airlines in Europe will join the Lufthansa GDS surcharge game. This will start to put more pressure on the future viability of single system distribution channels and challenge global travel managers to devise alternatives for the future.

10. Hotels continue to drive business to their direct booking channels in an effort to reduce their costs of distribution. At the same time they focus on gouging more customers with $20 bottles of water and $15 snicker bars.

11. New alternatives in payment will result in kudos to travel managers that think differently and embrace new methods of doing business. These methods and technologies will turn a lot of heads. Details coming soon.

12. Personnel announcements will raise eyebrows and signal changes to our industry.

13. Tony D'Astolfo will come out of hibernation and be a force for a choice once again in our industry. A choice with benefits.

14. Michigan will win the College Football Title in 2018. The NY Rangers will bring home the Stanley Cub in 2017. The Boston Red Sox will bring home the crown in 2017. Cleveland Cavaliers will repeat. And I have no idea who will win the Lombardi Trophy in 2017.

15. And finally, this summer, for the first time in corporate travel industry, there will be a physical UFC fight ring at GBTA for those in our wonderful industry that do not like each other. Cage Fights. Should be fun.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with these, and until two weeks from now, carry on and keep smiling!

Have a wonderful 2017!

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