Helping Travel Planning Clients Make the Most of Their Vacation Dollars

BY Rachel Cagle
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The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is one of the most popular periods of the year for travel. According to Expedia, the average trip duration in the summer is two times longer than the rest of the year, meaning travelers are looking for their dollars to stretch even further for airfare and lodging.

Expedia analyzed summer travel trends to help travelers save money and time as they plan and book their biggest vacation of the year. The data shows August is the cheapest month for airfare and that Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day are the busiest weekends of the year for rental cars.

"Summer is a uniquely busy travel period as it sees every kind of traveler, from honeymooners to recent grads," says John Morrey, SVP Brand Expedia.

According to AudienceSCAN, 20.5% of adults who plan to travel within the next year are ages 65 and older. They're also 11% more likely than other adults to be between the ages of 45 and 54. About 19.1% have annual household incomes of $150,000 or more, 60.9% are married and while 57.2% don't have any kids living at home, this group is 24% more likely than other adults to have children ages 13 to 17.

Planning Tips: When to Book and When to Go

Regardless of your destination, one of the biggest money-​saving considerations when it comes to summer getaways may come down to timing. According to 2017 flight data, August was the cheapest month for airfare, with average ticket prices around $100 less than in June. Based on historical pricing, these are the two-​week time frames to hit or miss:

  • Most expensive weeks to fly: June 26July 2
  • Cheapest weeks to fly: August 21September 3

Bonus booking tip: Expedia's annual Air Travel Outlook report found that, in general, the best rates can be found when booking at least 30 days in advance, a sound strategy to implement for summer travel as well.

While travelers may want to save money, AudienceSCAN reports that 55.7% of travel planning clients are still willing to pay more for higher quality on most products.

Summer Holidays: What You Need to Know

Building a vacation around July 4th or Labor Day can be a smart way to take advantage of office and school closures, but increased costs and crowds can be a factor for people traveling over the holidays. Looking at last year, Expedia found that rental car demand peaks on the Fridays ahead of these holidays, so travelers should aim to reserve their vehicles one to two weeks in advance to lock in rates and availability. The highest rates were paid by those who booked cars more than 60 days out, ranging from around 20 to 40% more than average last summer.

Bonus booking tip: Package savings aren't just for flight and hotel bundles – in fact, 40% of people who book car and hotel at the same time end up getting the car rental for free. On average, savings amount to 15% off.

When planning a big purchase, 11.4% of travel planning clients turn to the TV, according to AudienceSCAN. TV ads also inspired 69.4% of this audience to take action after seeing a commercial last year. Another 65.2% were also influenced by a good deal and took action after receiving coupons or ads in their mailboxes, which is also the medium that 10.7% of this group find the most helpful when planning a big purchase.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.