The only thing that’s constant is change, they say, and nowhere is that more evident than in travel. We reached out to several tour operators and experts to see what the latest trends are in the biz.
John Lovell of Vacation.com said that travelers are making their buying decision further out this year. “Booking windows have increased on average by over 30 days versus 2009,” he said. Marc Kazlauskas of Insight Vacations agreed: “Consumers are booking farther out than in 2009,” he said. “Our average booking taken to travel date has expanded by almost 30 days.”
Pamela Lassers of Abercrombie & Kent, however, disagreed: “In 2007, most people made plans at least six months in advance. In 2008, it was five months. Last year it was four months or less.” This year, she said, “20 percent of all bookings made in July for travel in 2010 were for travel in the month of August.”
Lovell says that exclusive product offerings, along with strong value-adds, are driving the tour segment. “The up-market (luxury) segment has experienced very strong year-over-year growth, and much of this is driven by the exclusive nature of the product.”
Lassers credits the resurgence in travel to an inherent need. “People consider travel an essential part of their lifestyle,” she says. “Travel is not negotiable, especially when both partners work. People are thinking about life in a much more careful way, and they will cut back in other areas before they postpone their vacations. They have reaffirmed their priorities, focusing on spending time with family and friends.”
Check back next week for more scoops from the pros about emerging travel trends!