Travel 2012: Tips from Orbitz

January 10, 2012 9:10:55 AM PST
A look at the hottest travel destinations for the start of 2012.

London: London will mark its place in history as the only city to host the Olympic Games three times when it welcomes the 2012 games this summer. London is expected to attract more than 10,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands more spectators for the games July 27 - Aug. 12.

Austin: The trendy part of Texas only seems to grow in popularity each year and 2012 will be no different. Regarded as a music lover's mecca: tens of thousands of revelers flock to the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World" every spring for the annual South by Southwest Festival, which takes place March 9-18 this year. And the excitement doesn't end on that note. This year, Austin is expanding outside of the music scene and dipping its toes into something new by hosting the first U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix starting Nov. 18.

Chicago: The city that attracts 40 million visitors a year is gearing up welcome even more as it serves as the backdrop for two high-profile world events in 2012. The 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates will make its North American debut inChicago in April followed by the G8 Summit in May. The Nobel Peace Laureateand G8 are two of the biggest global annual events attracting hundreds of international high-profile leaders, dignitaries and organizations.. For those who find their own version of peace on the back nine, Chicago will also host the Ryder Cup in September- a bi-annual international golf event eagerly followed by golf enthusiasts around the world.

Sure Bets for Great Deals in 2012:

San Diego (for families): Whether a mountain adventurer or a costal relaxer, there is something for everyone at a price that works in San Diego. And this year, there's even more of a reason to visit this coastal city. The convention business-a staple of the San Diego tourism industry-is expected fall this year, and hotels in the popular Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego will likely be looking to fill rooms and offer more competitive rates for leisure travelers.

From Chicago - Airfare + 4 Nights at the 4-star Westin Gaslamp Quarter
$527 pp
(Feb 24-28)

Washington, DC: A bit of a hush falls over the nation's capital during election years with the Washington insider crowd outside the beltway campaigning. As candidates hit the campaign trail in 2012, more hotel rooms and flights have space available and that can add up to great deals for travelers looking to explore Washington, DC.

From Chicago - Airfare + 4 Nights at the 4-Star Donovan House - A Thompson Hotel
$621 pp
(Feb 24-28)

Riviera Maya (for couples): With its large hotel infrastructure-the biggest in Mexico-Riviera Maya has long been a shoe-in for travel deals. However, recent declines in visitors from foreign countries will make the area even more affordable in 2012. With the combination of massive hotel inventory and recent decline of European visitors to Mexico, U.S. travelers will be able to nab some great hotel deals.

From Chicago - Airfare + 4 Nights at the 4-star Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort - All Inclusive
Plus Kids Free and receive a $600 resort credit booklet
$794 pp
(Feb 24-28)

Orbitz 2012 Travel Trend Predictions:

Booking Travel via Mobile Devices: Mobile commerce is expected to nearly double in the U.S. next year (6) and many of those mobile consumers will be on-the-go travelers, Orbitz forecasts. 65% of hotel reservations for same-day stays are made via Orbitz mobile channels compared to 14% via traditional desktop browsers. We expect more and more travelers to utilize mobile devices and apps for not just checking travel status and weather, but for booking flights and hotels.

Travel Flash Sales: The number of flash sale sites rose more than 350% from July of 2009 to July 2011 and the popularity of such sites seems only to be growing. Orbitz, among other travel brands, recently launched its own flash sale in 2011, and we expect more and more deals to be brought to travelers via these sales and more travelers taking advantage of these great last minute deals.

Gift of Travel: Today, many consumers are finding more meaningful value in giving experiences and memories vs. products off store shelves. We are seeing parents gifting travel for graduations and birthdays and more engaged couples are opting to register for activities for their honeymoons instead of a set of towels. While most give the gift to help people explore somewhere new, it can also be a subtle reminder, and the extra push some need, to visit loved ones who don't live nearby.