Travel Leaders recently unveiled the 2012 results of their annual Travel Trends Survey. With 11 of the top 20 international destinations in Europe, Asia and Australia – up from just 9 last year – it is clear that Americans are ready to travel farther from home than in recent years. Travelers are also willing to spend what is necessary for their desired vacation – over 91% of Travel Leaders surveyed say clients will spend the same or more on travel in 2012 as compared to last year.
According to Roger E. Block, CTC, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, it's important "to point out the data that shows nine out of 10 travel agents say their clients will spend the same or more as last year. Additionally, majorities of our surveyed travel agents indicate there's an increase in interest and bookings for small ship cruising, off-the-beaten path travel, and international family travel. With these luxury-oriented segments on the rise, it's no wonder the overall optimism our Travel Leaders have heading into 2012 based on bookings to-date for the upcoming year is also very high."
Other top findings from the Travel Trends Survey includes:
- Majorities of those Travel Leaders travel agents who primarily book leisure travel indicate they are seeing an increase in interest and bookings for small ship cruising, off-the-beaten path travel, and international family travel, all positive indicators for the growing luxury travel segment.
- Based on current bookings so far for 2012 and conversations with clients, over 91% of Travel Leaders surveyed say clients will spend the same or more on travel in 2012. (That percentage is up over 2011 when 88.3% said clients would spend the same or more than in 2010.)
- For those travelers looking to stay closer to home, yet use their passport, the trend for 2012 indicates a greater interest in the Caribbean than in recent years. While Caribbean cruising has been the perennial top international "destination" in this survey, luxury all-inclusives in the Caribbean are also a tremendous draw.
- Due in part to reduction in airline capacity and in order to lock-in optimum pricing, leisure travelers continue to plan and book their travel farther out from their actual travel date.
BUSINESS TRAVEL IN 2012
Business travel is also expected to grow in 2012, fueled by Millennials and Generation X professionals who expect to take to the road more often, according to new research from Deloitte. Specifically, 85% of business travelers surveyed expect to take more or the same number of trips next year with 27% of 18–44 year-olds expecting to take more trips in 2012, while only 16% of business travelers 45 years-old and above are planning to take more trips next year.
"Corporate travel plays a key role in driving growth for the travel industry as a whole," says Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and global travel, hospitality and leisure sector leader. Corporate travel will also likely fuel the travel, hospitality and leisure industry as well in 2012.
When considering loyalty, nearly half (46%) of the 18–29 year-olds say they prefer to stay at their favorite hotel brand even if it is not conveniently located, whereas 37% of those 30 and older do the same.
"While it's important for hotels to focus on the burgeoning number of young business travelers, finding a middle ground to retain brand loyalty among Generation X and Y, and boosting brand loyalty among the potentially more discerning baby boomers, will likely be a challenge for hotels in 2012," continues Weissenberg.
Amenities continue to play a key role in the overall hotel experience, with six in 10 respondents (61%) expecting more from hotels with regards to amenities and services now that hotel prices have increased. As a whole, 77% of business travelers surveyed indicated that complimentary internet is important to them, and 63% are satisfied with the availability of free Wi-Fi in hotels.
Two-thirds of respondents (67%) say they often work in their hotel room, with younger business travelers enjoying working in more social spaces, such as executive/business lounges and the lobby or common area. Nearly two-fifths (36%) of the 18–44 year-olds surveyed say they often work in the lobby or common area, while only 17% of those 45 and older do the same. When it comes to interacting with hotel staff for check-in, almost two-fifths (36%) of the 18–44 respondents favor automated kiosks rather than checking in with a hotel employee at the front desk, whereas only 19% of the 45 and older survey participants say they prefer automated kiosks.[Source: "2012 Travel Trends Survey." Travel Leaders Franchise Group. 20 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2011; Business Travel survey by Deloitte. 6 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2011.]