Money & Business

Associations Share Industry Predictions for 2017

By / Dec 23, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

As a new year begins, associations reveal their predictions of what’s to come in their respective industries in 2017.

A new year is a good time for associations to reflect on last year’s successes, think about what to improve, and consider where to go in the upcoming year. From cruising and business travel, to retail and realty, here’s what associations think 2017 will bring.

Travel is taking off. In its U.S. Travel Forecast [PDF], the U.S. Travel Association projects a jump in travel expenditures in the United States as well as a rise in international travelers. For instance, from 2016 to 2017, U.S. Travel predicts a jump from $988.7 billion to more than $1 trillion in total travel expenditures in the country. The group also projects 1.8 million more international visitors to the U.S.in 2017. From 2015 to 2016, the projected number of international visitors dropped by 700,000.

“Domestic leisure travel has been the backbone of the travel sector for a while, but the outlook for ’17 is up because of surprising strength in domestic business travel and inbound international travel,” said U.S. Travel Association’s Senior VP of Research David Huether. “Low unemployment and growth in personal incomes and consumption look like they’re going to keep travel spending at a robust level for some time to come.”

A rise in home prices and sales. The National Association of Realtors expects home sales to increase modestly and home prices to increase at a more moderate pace in 2017—and even 2018.

Millennials—many of whom have held off on buying homes—are one of the factors projected to drive the market in the next few years, said NAR VP of Research Paul Bishop. “There is a continued desire to be a homeowner in the future,” Bishop said. “Even if millennials can’t buy a home today … home ownership is a goal that they’d like to reach at some point in the future.”

However, Bishop also said that “continued economic growth overall … is the basis for a solid housing market,” regardless of how millennials might be participating. In addition, Bishop noted some headwinds that might have an effect on the home-buying sector. “Interest rates have gone up over the last few weeks. Prices continue to increase … creating a challenge that might offset some of the positive things we’ve seen in the economy,” he said.

A swell of cruise ships and passengers. According to Cruise Lines International Association’s 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook [PDF], the number of worldwide cruise passengers is projected to rise from 24.2 million in 2016 to 25.3 million in 2017.

CLIA believes that millennials will account for at least some of that increase. “Younger generations, including Millennials and Generation X—will embrace cruise travel more than ever before,” according to CLIA’s 2017 outlook.

Another trend worth noting is the rise of river cruises. CLIA’s members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships, but there are 13 more on order for 2017, making for about a 7 percent increase in member-owned river cruise ships.

A surge in tech-aided retail. The National Retail Federation predicts an upsurge in the use of all sorts of tech-assisted commerce, from chatbots that give shoppers advice to social media that helps with purchasing decisions. Major companies like H&M, Sephora, and Macy’s are already experimenting with these types of tech.

“Consumers expect a seamless shopping experience that shifts smoothly from digital to physical stores,” wrote STORES MEDIA Editor Susan Reda in the December 2016 issue. “They want retailers to remember what they buy—a stepping stone to facilitating replenishment, and they want a touch of personalization—which translates into ‘know what I’m looking for, but don’t creep me out.’”

Next year, retailers will also continue to try and shorten the gap between themselves and Amazon. One-click payments, as well one-day, two-day, or same-day shipments will increasingly become the norm.

A riskier global business environment. In the 2017 Global Travel Price Outlook, the Global Business Travel Association identifies six risks to business travel that range from uncertainty around Brexit to geopolitical hazards.

“While business travel repeatedly demonstrates its resilience, the high level of global uncertainty we face heading into 2017 means travel buyers have to be more nimble and flexible than ever in crafting travel programs,” said Jeanne Liu, GBTA Foundation vice president for research, in a press release. “The outlook shows only marginal increases or flat travel prices, but for 2017, the key to building successful travel programs will be watching and reacting to an ever-changing global landscape.”

Although GBTA predicts slight decreases in airfares, hotel rates, and meeting costs per attendee in Latin America, North America is expected to see increases in all categories. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific is projected to experience about a .5 percent drop in hotel prices, as well as a 1.1 percent decrease in airfares, while meeting costs per attendee in the region are expected to modestly increase. In all of these categories, Western Europe and Eastern Europe are a mixed bag of slight fluctuations.

What predictions are you making about 2017? Let us know about them in the comments.

Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. More »

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