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How Americans Roll - Study Uncovers Weekend Road Trip TrendsOctober 29, 2014 By: National Car Rental
When it comes to vacations, bigger isn’t always better. According to new research from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the world’s largest rental car brand, brief road trips may be the most popular vacations of all – beating out those long summer weeks at the beach.
The 2014 Enterprise Leisure Travel Survey, conducted in May 2014, examined the attitudes and preferences of more than 1,000 U.S. travelers who took at least one or more road trips over the previous year. Respondents were asked about their driving habits and preferences to better understand how Americans make travel choices.
The survey found that two-thirds (66 percent) prefer to take a one-day or weekend road trip as opposed to 31 percent who prefer to take at least a week-long trip. More than half (57 percent) report that they would drive up to 300 miles one way for a weekend trip, and almost 75 percent prefer to drive to their destinations because of the freedom it provides.
While it’s clear Americans love to take road trips, the type of road trip they opt for differs based on various demographics. For example:
- Millennials will make time on a road trip for food (35 percent), but are less likely to take time for scenic drives and attractions.
- Westerners are almost three times more likely than those in other regions to take a road trip for outdoor recreation. Almost one-third (31 percent) of them drive to their destination because of its remoteness.
- Northeasterners take the fewest number of days for leisure trips and report traveling most often for entertainment (e.g. concerts, sporting events).
Though short trips are in vogue, there are still big opportunities for travel agents to provide value to leisure travelers. One obvious example is the car itself. Booking customers a low-mileage, well-maintained rental car can enhance the road trip experience by providing extra space for vacationers who don’t like to pack lightly or easing the minds of travelers who don’t want to clock extra miles on their personal vehicle. In fact, forty-one percent of women reported that they’re likely to have rented a vehicle for a road trip to prevent wear and tear on their own cars, and roughly one-in-ten men claimed they’ve rented a vehicle for the chance to drive a new car.
Understanding what makes different travelers tick can help agents plan the best road trip experiences for their customers. For example, booking customers with a car rental company that has a strong neighborhood network is a simple way to provide additional convenience. In fact, there are nearly 2 million rental vehicles at more than 21,000 rental locations nationwide, the majority of which are in neighborhood locations where people live and work.
Whether it’s helping secure tickets for a major food festival that will get Millennials’ mouths watering, reserving a cabin on the slopes for Westerners seeking a ski vacation adventure or making sure Northeasterners get the most out of their short trip with last-minute hotel reservations, the opportunities are as vast as the open road.