Now Trending: Travel Expenditure and Holiday Planning on the Rise! Are you Ready?

Good news for the Tourism & Travel Industry!

Two recent surveys reveal that holidays will be the last thing to go from the agenda, despite economic difficulties, while an other survey results predict an increase in travel expenditure! What better combination could destinations and the tourism industry ask for? Are you ready for them though? Travellers are willing to travel, as the following surveys show, but do not forget that they have a lot to choose from! Now that you know they are willing and you know what they look for, are you going to be on that list?

Amex Survey Predicts Increase in Holiday Travel Spending

42% of Americans plan to increase their holiday travel budget compared to last year, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. The average family of four intends to spend $2,636 on holiday travel, or $659 per person, an increase of nearly $200 from last year.

No matter where consumers choose to go, there is a clear interest in getting more out of travel, according to the study. From dining to adventure, it’s all about making memories. More travelers are flying, with just over one-third (36 %) flying to their destination (versus 26 % last year). More consumers also plan to dine out (31 % versus 20 %  in 2010) and take part in entertainment-focused activities (24 %versus 20%  in 2010).

21 % are taking a longer trip, 19 % are staying in better accommodations and 17 % are traveling with more people. 12% are choosing a more-expensive destination and 6% are flying first or business class.

A growing number of consumers expressed interest in doing more while they’re away this holiday season. When asked how they would spend an extra $500 if it were available, nearly one quarter (24%) of consumers said they would rather use the extra funds for new experiences than to extend the length of their stay (18%).

When asked which travel experiences they would be most interested in trying, consumers ranked outdoor adventure first (19 %), followed by a mystery vacation (16%), culinary-focused experience (13%), holistic spa retreat (12 %), volunteerism trip (5%) and a ski holiday (4 %).

Even though consumers expressed a desire to have more unique travel experiences, budget (40%) still trumped all as the key decision making factor when making holiday travel plans. Destination (25%) and experience (11%) came in second and third.

26% of travelers are turning to rewards points or miles as a primary way to pay for all or part of their trip. 56% of Americans do not plan to travel this holiday season, significantly down from 61 percent in 2010. On average, Americans are early birds when it comes to booking holiday travel, with most booking their holiday travel three months in advance. However, 21 % will book less than a month before their trip, with the vast majority of late bookers (73 %) waiting until one week or less before holiday vacation. Late-bookers are also more likely to purchase using online travel engines and drive to their destinations.

Consumers are also looking to travel experiences as a source for creative gift giving this holiday season. More than one in four consumers(41 %) have received and given a vacation as a gift. Many affluents and young professionals similarly have given a vacation as a gift (38 %).


ABTA research confirms holidays will be ‘last thing to go’

Nearly four out of ten consumers say holidays are the last thing they will cut back on, according to research among over 2,000 consumers.

The 2011 ABTA Consumer Trends survey has found that consumers would rather make savings on eating out or home improvements than lose out on their holiday.

When asked ‘which of the following would you be most unwilling to cut back on?’, 37% said a holiday, 20% opted for eating out and 17% claimed leisure activities such as cinema and theatre would be the last to go.

One in five are so keen on their foreign breaks that they regard a longer trip overseas as a necessity they couldn’t do without, while one in four see a short break in the UK as equally essential.

Women appreciate the relaxation and opportunity to recharge their batteries on holiday more than men, with nearly one in four, 38%, unwilling to forego a trip as opposed to 35% of men. The love of holidays clearly grows with age, with 27% of 15-24 year olds unprepared to cut back, climbing to 43% of the over 65s.

“Consumers have been telling us for years just how important their holidays are,” said an ABTA spokeswoman.“In tough economic times we all have to think of ways in which we can tighten our belts but it is very reassuring for the industry to hear that holidays are the least popular choice for the chop and for many, something they simply cannot live without.”

Meanwhile, the research also found that holidaymakers expect travel companies to take responsibility for protecting the environment.

Half of consumers, compared with 47% last year, believe that their holidays should help local people and the local economy. This belief was particularly notable among 55-64 year olds where 60% said they wanted their holidays to benefit communities, compared with 54% in 2010.

One in five holidaymakers believe that sustainability credentials are essential or important when they book their holiday, and this is particularly the case among a younger age group: the figures escalates to one in four among 15-24 year olds and one in three of 25 to 34 year olds.


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