Given the frenetic pace of contemporary life it probably comes as no surprise that more Americans are taking “last minute” vacations, Peter Yesawich, chairman and CEO of the Ypartnership believes. Flash sales by travel services suppliers are also growing.
Simply coordinating schedules to get time away from work represents a greater obstacle than the actual cost of the trip for many travelers today.
Yesawich reports that nearly three out of every 10 (27 percent) travelers took a last minute trip last year. Equally surprising, they planned those trips an average of just six days prior to their departure.
“Time is of the essence…a popular expression today for sure, yet one rarely heard in discussions about vacation planning,” Yesawich comments. “Yet it now appears to be a mantra embraced by the growing percentage of American leisure travelers who take 'last minute' trips.”
Clearly, one of the market forces accelerating this trend is the growing use of “flash sales” by travel service suppliers, Yesawich says. These impulsive offers, delivered through unsolicited e-mails, have become more commonplace during the past 12 months as suppliers have tried to liquidate what would otherwise be unsold inventory.
“Some of the deals are so irresistible it’s no wonder they drive impulsive demand (fully one out of seven recipients of these unsolicited emails reports purchasing a travel service as a result),” he said. “Yes, one might expect the recipients of these offers to book a weekend flight or hotel room on a whim, but a complete vacation package (38 percent) or a cruise (21 percent)? Unprecedented.”
Fully one out of four leisure travelers took a vacation in their local area as an alternative to vacationing in a destination that would have required more extensive travel (aka a “staycation”) during the past year. This type of vacation appears to be yet another manifestation of the trend toward more impulsive vacation behavior, Yesawich says.
Forecasting future demand is likely to become much more complicated in the year ahead because of the remarkable increase in "last minute" vacations, Yesawich says.