Toldja! New forecast confirms 2010 will be Year of the Deal

ishot-1I couldn’t resist my best Nikki Finke impression, but didn’t I say 2010 was going to be the Year of the Deal for travelers? And now even the forecasts are starting to agree with me.

Just yesterday, my friends at the National Business Travel Association released their 2010 preview. Now granted, this is specific to business travel, so if anything, it’s a conservative forecast. The deals for leisure travelers may be even better.

Bottom line? Air travel and car rental costs will remain nearly flat and hotel rates are expected to decline in 2010, according to NBTA.

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In the new business travel environment, corporate travel managers — the folks who manage company travel programs — expect to “drive good values” with preferred travel suppliers. That’s a euphemism for “have their way with them.”

Seven out of ten travel managers “expect to negotiate better hotel discounts” for 2010, while more than one-third of them forecast better discounts with airlines, and car rental companies.

While this may be terrible news for the travel industry, it bodes well for business and leisure travelers. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The discounts will stay through 2010.

You’ll see.