My kids woke up today and were thrilled to realize that there was less than one month of school left. They can feel summer vacation just around the corner and, honestly, I’m pretty happy about that too. I love summer, and I’m one of those consumers who feel that travel is a birthright and a reward for hard work.
No surprise that I’m not alone. In fact, experts at the Leisure Travel Summit, held in New York earlier this month, predicted that the travel industry might be looking at its strongest summer on record.
According to an article by HotelManagement.net, executives from Best Western, the U.S. Travel Association and AAA, among others, shared statistics at the summit suggesting that we will see a strong travel season. A forecast from Orbitz predicts that 75 percent of Americans will take a vacation this summer, while Best Western expects a 3 to 4 percent increase in room rates. Also, a recent AAA survey showed nearly one-third of respondents plans to take a multigenerational trip in the next 12 months.
“Of those multigenerational travelers, 25 percent are traveling in groups of three generations, which is a very striking number,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA vice president of travel services.
Experts credited this growth in family travel in part to a desire for relationship-building within families — a factor some correlate to the fact that women are the primary decision-makers when it comes to purchasing.
“Women want to invest in relationships with their family, partners and loved ones, and they place a high value on vacations as a way to strengthen these relationships,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western.
This snapshot of the upcoming travel season provides some important factors travel agents should be aware of as they search for last-minute clients. First, be on the lookout for multigenerational group bookings. Next, be aware of the gender difference in travel planning and direct your marketing appropriately.
Here’s hoping we see a lot of “out of office” notifications this summer.