The results are in. Surveys and market reports conducted at the end of 2010 reveals some interesting trends for vacationers this year.
1. Travelocity®’s annual “Traveler Confidence Report” finds that an overwhelming majority of travelers (89 percent) will spend as much or more on travel in 2011 as they did in 2010 particularly by upgrading to a higher rated resort or cruise line.
2. Even though travelers are planning to spend more, they’re also planning to spend more carefully by watching their budget. Many intend to book a vacation package (flight and hotel) as a way to save money.
3. Travel agencies across the country are reporting an increase in bookings to Europe, especially river cruising, the Mediterranean and the Baltic. Prices are more affordable than in recent years because of the stronger dollar against the Euro and other currencies.
4. Special interest travel—culinary tours, golf vacations, photography opportunities, music and art themed tours, diving vacations—are increasingly sought by travelers.
5. Small ship and river cruises are exploding in popularity. Destination oriented and seasoned travelers enjoy the immersion into the location. As one client said, “The larger the ship the smaller the experience.”
6. “Staycations” and “nearcations” have run their course. Vacation plans include flights, in spite of the hassles of flying.
So what does this mean for you? Cruise lines and tour operators are anxious to rebuild their businesses after the economic meltdown of the last few years. Take advantage of 2-for1 and early booking discounts, packages with reduced airfare specials, extra amenities and upgrades, and special interest theme cruises and tours.
And, do it now. Because there is one more trend: 7. Travelers are booking earlier—6 to 9 months before departure and not waiting until the last minute as in recent years. That means the vacation you want, when you want it, may be sold out.
Scooter Tessari, MCC