Travel Leaders' 2012 Travel Trends Survey: Trends Indicate Leisure Travelers Looking to Travel Farther From Home With Increases to Europe, Asia and Australia Over 91% Said Clients Will Spend the Same or More on Travel in 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Travel Leaders unveiled the 2012 results of their authoritative 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. Conducted November 21 - December 16, 2011, and based on actual booking data, the 2012 Travel Trends Survey includes responses from 640 Travel Leaders owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States.

"We are very encouraged to see the rise in popularity of such a diverse group of international destinations.  We have come to expect London, Rome and – more recently – European river cruising to be near the top of our survey.  However, it is nice to see Americans' interests are diversifying and in large enough numbers to 'bump up' destinations such as Hong Kong and Beijing in Asia, and Amsterdam and Barcelona in Europe," stated Roger E. Block, CTC, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, which includes travel agency locations from coast to coast.  "Also, Sydney, Australia, is gaining steam and just missed our Top 15.  Because of the growing number of certified Aussie specialists within our Travel Leaders network, we full anticipate delivering on more dreams of a vacation 'Down Under' in the coming year."

"Also, 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," added Block. "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."

Below are some of the top findings from this year's Travel Leaders Travel Trends Survey including: top international and domestic destinations, "up and coming" destinations, niche travel segments gaining interest, travel spending data, and more:

Top "Up and Coming" International Destinations:
When asked for their expert findings, Travel Leaders travel agents nationwide indicate Croatia is the top "up and coming" international destination within Europe, Vietnam is tops within Asia, and Panama narrowly edges out Ecuador and Brazil among destinations within Central/South America.

Increasing Interest:
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.

Travel Spending in 2012:
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.)

Caribbean Calling:
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. 

First/Business Class vs. Coach
When asked to provide the percentage of leisure travel clients who are purchasing tickets at the front of the plane, 30.7% of Travel Leaders indicated that 11% or more of their bookings are in first or business class. Another 51.9% indicated that 1-10% of their clientele is flying "up front."

Travel Spending

Based on current bookings so far for 2012 and conversations with clients about upcoming travel plans, Travel Leaders indicate their clients will be:

Spending significantly more per trip than in 2011

3.8%

Spending somewhat more per trip than in 2011

44.4%

Spending the same per trip as in 2011

43.1%

Spending somewhat less per trip than in 2011

8.1%

Spending significantly less per trip than in 2011

0.6%

Top Destinations: U.S. and International Based on Actual 2012 Bookings:
The following lists display the top international and destinations for 2012, along with rankings from the 2011 survey conducted one year ago (agents were asked to name up to five top destinations they've already been booking for 2012):

Rank

2012 Top Int'l Destinations

2012%

2011 Rank

1

CRUISE- Caribbean

47.5%

1

2

Cancun, Mexico

34.8%

2

3

Playa del Carmen, Mexico*

31.1%

4/8

4

CRUISE- Europe (Mediterranean)

25.9%

3

5

Rome, Italy

20.9%

5

6

London, England

17.3%

6

7

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

16.4%

9

8

Paris, France

13.8%

11

9

Montego Bay, Jamaica

13.1%

7

10

Negril, Jamaica

11.1%

15

11

Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico

9.7%

12

12

Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy

9.1%

14

13

CRUISE- Europe (River)

8.4%

21 (tie)

14

Beijing, China

7.8%

16

15

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

7.5%

13

16 (tie)

CRUISE- Mexico

7%

10

16 (tie)

Sydney, Australia

7%

19

18

Barcelona, Spain

6.4%

20

19

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

6.1%

26 (tie)

20

Hong Kong, China

5.3%

23 (tie)

* In previous years there were options for both "Riviera Maya" and "Playa del Carmen." Due to geographic proximity, these have been combined into solely "Playa del Carmen" in this year's survey.

 

2012 Top Domestic Destinations

2012%

2011 Rank

1

Las Vegas, NV

49.5%

1

2

Orlando, FL

44.8%

2

3

Maui, HI

44.2%

4 (tie)

4

Cruise – Alaska

37%

3

5

New York City, NY

31.4%

6

6

Honolulu, HI

28.9%

4 (tie)

7

Washington, D.C.

16.6%

7

8

Chicago, IL

15.2%

10 (tie)

9

Los Angeles, CA

11.9%

12

10

Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ

11.1%

10 (tie)

11

Atlanta, GA

10.8%

15

12

San Francisco, CA

10%

9

13

Fort Myers, FL

9.5%

19 (tie)

14

Cruise – Hawaii

9.4%

8

15

Fort Lauderdale, FL

9.1%

16

16

Anaheim/Orange County, CA

8.9%

13 (tie)

17

Lihue (Kauai), HI

6.7%

22 (tie)

18

Miami/Miami Beach, FL

6.4%

13 (tie)

19 (tie)

Kona (Big Island), HI

6.3%

26 (tie)

19 (tie)

Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL

6.3%

18

 

Less and less last-minute leisure travel:  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. Survey data on both the domestic and international leisure booking windows (time between the booking and actual travel date) shows:

Domestic Travel Booking Window

2012

2011

2010

4 weeks or less

21.2%

23.3%

29.8%

5-7 weeks

15.1%

15.4%

15.6%

8 weeks or more

63.7%

61.4%

54.5%

 

 

 

 

International Travel Booking Window

2012

2011

2010

4 weeks or less

6.4%

9.7%

13.7%

5-7 weeks

4.1%

3.3%

5.2%

8 weeks or more

89.5%

87.0%

81.1%

 

Comparing your 2012 bookings so far to your 2011 bookings at this time last year, which is true?

2012 Response

2012%

2011%

2010%

2009%

They're Higher

39.5

50.3

28.2

11.1

They're About Even

40.8

30.7

34.0

21.8

They're Lower

19.7

19.0

37.8

67.1

 

What is your personal outlook on your business in 2012?

2012 Response

2012%

2011%

2010%

2009%

Optimistic

78.8

80.3

75.8

52.3

Neither optimistic nor pessimistic

17.3

15

16.5

28

Pessimistic

3.9

4.7

7.7

19.7

 

For more information or to find the Travel Leaders location nearest you, call 888-206-TRIP (8747) or visit www.Travelleaders.com. When your journey includes us, you travel better.

Travel Leaders is transforming travel with a new name that boldly embodies our commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. As one of America's top ten-ranked travel companies, Travel Leaders has assisted millions of travelers through our strong roots – the former Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group joined together in 2008 to form one of the industry's fastest-growing and robust networks of travel agents. Travel Leaders Franchise Group can trace its beginnings to 1984 as the Carlson franchise system "Ask Mr. Foster Travel," which itself was North America's first travel agency chain established in 1888.

Contact:

Steve Loucks

Kathy Gerhardt

 

763-744-3797

763-744-3710

 

sloucks@travelleaders.com

kgerhardt@travelleaders.com

SOURCE Travel Leaders



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