2014

Travel Leaders Group survey reveals trends for Holiday Travel

PLYMOUTH, Minn., Sept. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Even though the fall season has barely begun, savvy travelers in the United States should already be planning and booking holiday travel right now, according travel agents participating in a new survey by Travel Leaders Group – one of North America's largest travel companies.  A vast majority of Travel Leaders Group travel agents polled indicate their holiday travel bookings are on par with or higher than last year; more importantly, the timeline for booking such holiday trips – particularly those requiring travelers to fly to their destinations – is tight.  Agents' resounding advice is to book holiday travel six months or more prior to their departure, which means those still on the sidelines for Thanksgiving or end of year holidays need to act fast. Agents also advise clients planning to travel over Spring Break 2013 to begin their planning shortly.

This data on holiday travel is based on responses from 653 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who indicated that they specialize in leisure travel.  These results are part of the larger 2012 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 30 - August 23, 2012, in which 871 travel agent experts from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group's Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units participated.

"The holiday travel advice of our travel agents throughout the U.S. undoubtedly factors in peak travel costs and restricted airline availability.  It's simple supply and demand, and we wouldn't be doing our job – which is to be an unbiased advocate for our clients – if we didn't counsel them to lock in their holiday travel plans right now," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.  "While we have been known to 'pull a rabbit out of the hat' for many last minute requests, it isn't in our clients' best interest to take those chances – and it certainly isn't cost-effective for them, either.  If travelers want maximum flexibility with travel dates, times and prices, action is required.  Looking at the data – which shows 72.3% of agents report Thanksgiving travel booking on par or better than last year and 76.7% report end of year holiday bookings are equal or higher to 2011 – a good deal of our clients appear to be heeding our advice and locking in the best value."

Thanksgiving Travel

  • When asked to compare 2012 Thanksgiving travel bookings so far to bookings at this time last year, a vast majority (72.3%) indicate that their bookings are equal to or higher than last year.
  • When asked "Based on your knowledge and expertise, when would you advise clients to book their Thanksgiving airline tickets?" the majority (58.6%) of Travel Leaders Group agents indicate clients should book their Thanksgiving airfare 6 months or more prior to the holiday. Thanksgiving is now less than three months away.
  • However, some clients are taking a chance that their desired flight dates, times and price-range will still be available closer to the holiday. When asked "When do a majority of your clients start inquiring about Thanksgiving airline tickets?" 45.3% of Travel Leaders Group agents indicate 3-4 months prior to the holiday, while 21.8% said 2 months prior to the holiday.

Holiday Travel (End of Year)

  • When asked to compare end-of-the-year holiday travel bookings (those immediately prior to Christmas and through the New Year's holiday) to their 2011 bookings at this time, again a large majority (76.7%) state their 2012 bookings are equal to or higher than last year.
  • When asked "Based on your knowledge and expertise, when would you advise clients to book their airfare for travel taking place immediately prior to Christmas through the New Year's holiday?" 74.9% of Travel Leaders Group agents say they would advise booking 6 months or more prior to the desired departure date.
  • When asked "When do a majority of your clients start inquiring about air travel for dates immediately prior to Christmas through the New Year's holiday?" 68% say clients inquire 4 months or more prior to the holidays.

Spring Break Travel

It is no longer premature to talk about Spring Break travel, particularly based upon the advice from Travel Leaders Group's travel agents across the U.S.  To ensure clients have their top destination options available to them and to lock-in the best airfares and resort pricing, the surveyed travel agents have provided the following insights:

  • Booking in Advance: When asked "Typically how far in advance do you advise your clients to make their Spring Break reservations?" 62.3% of Travel Leaders Group agents advise more than 6 months in advance, while 33.9% stated 4-6 months in advance.
  • Don't delay: When asked "What are the Top 3 reasons why clients should not wait until the last minute to book their Spring Break travel?" the top responses were:

1.

Reduced airline seating capacity

75.9%

2.

Lock in airfare costs

61.7%

3.

Lock in hotel/resort pricing

39.4%

Travel Leaders Group is one of North America's largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generates gross travel sales of nearly $17 billion. Travel Leaders Group is a leader in both the retail travel agency space and corporate travel, and it consistently ranks as one of the top travel companies nationwide.

Contact:       

Steve Loucks     

Kathy Gerhardt


763-744-3797

763-744-3710


sloucks@travelleaders.com

kgerhardt@travelleaders.com




SOURCE Travel Leaders Group



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