Kayak.com Upbeat on Family Holiday Travel

A survey of more than 1,000 users of Kayak.com says that, despite the economy, consumers are insisting on delivering their holiday gifts personally to loved ones this year. More than 75 percent of survey respondents still plan to travel during this holiday season, while 42 percent plan to take a secondary winter trip between January and March 2009. Consumers are both price sensitive and hunting for bargains.

Family is clearly the motivator for this year’s holiday travel, Kayak.com says, but the meaning of “family gathering” has shifted. While 50 percent of respondents agree that spending time with family is the most important factor during the holidays, 40 percent have decided that they’re going on vacation with their family this year instead of spending time at a family member’s home or their own. The survey found that 35 percent of respondents said all they really want for Christmas is to be with their immediate family, while 29 percent said they’d prefer to be on a romantic break with their significant other.

While 39 percent of those surveyed said they will not sacrifice their plans due to the current economy, 29 percent of holiday travelers will trim their travel budget by cutting the trip short by a few days or sacrificing a direct flight or desired times/dates for a cheaper price with layovers and early morning departures. Only 18 percent reported feeling too strapped financially to travel anywhere.

“Travelers have definitely become savvy shoppers as more than 43 percent of Kayakers indicated they monitored fares longer than in years past using Fare Alerts,” said Drew Patterson, vice president of marketing for Kayak.com. “Our search data shows that people are spending more time on the site, returning more often, and using tools such as Flexible Search, Buzz Calendar and others before making a purchase. Consumer patience, diligence and willingness to embrace these tools has truly paid off, as 42 percent told us they were able to keep their total trip cost between $200-$399.”

Kayak.com says being savvy may also come in handy for last minute holiday shoppers looking for the perfect gift. Respondents said that a surprise romantic break in a European city (38 percent) or a White Christmas of the sandy kind (34 percent) is the perfect holiday present. Results of Kayak.com’s first Christmas survey can be found at: www.kayak.com/pr/2008/economic-hardship-changing-holiday-travel-finds-kayak-customer-survey.html.

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