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U.S. Vacationers are Planning Ahead, Seeking Value Over Budget, and Leaving The Kids Behind

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The fourth largest hotel and resort portfolio in the U.S., Destination Hotels & Resorts, predicts 2013 trends.

Englewood, CO. – A new consumer survey focused on travel for the upcoming summer season unveils some surprising trends, from a renewed interest in planning ahead to a primary focus on value rather than strict budget considerations. Results from the March 2013 study conducted by Destination Hotels & Resorts (Destination), the nation’s fourth largest hospitality management company, also revealed that more than half of travelers are planning at least one trip without the kids. A snapshot of the survey’s ten key findings is below, full results and analysis can be found in Destination’s online media center.

  1. Travelers are learning the early bird gets the worm (and best rate).
    Bucking the post-recession boom of flash-sales and last-minute-deals, vacation planners are beginning to shop ahead again. Destination has seen the booking window among leisure travelers increase by almost a full day year-over-year; this trend is anticipated to continue for 2013, with 40 percent of survey respondents already on the hunt for their perfect summer trip.
  2. When it comes to vacation, more is more.
    Travelers are looking to vacation often this summer. 76 percent plan to take as many short trips as possible, compared to only 22 percent eying a more traditional, week-or-longer summer escape.
  3. We are no longer living in a budget world.
    Almost three-quarters of survey participants indicated that one of the most important elements in their final travel booking decision was value, beating out cost/budget as the prime consideration.
  4. Social media isn’t just, er, social. It’s a critical planning tool.
    Two-thirds of participants indicated that they spend time on a hotel’s social channels before visiting. An overwhelming majority – 80 percent – noted that they browse online reviews when researching and booking their trips.
  5. Foodies are still on the rise.
    It is no secret that Americans have taken ‘foodie’ mainstream – and that was certainly evident when participants were asked to share the most important considerations in booking their vacation. 15 percent ranked ‘locally inspired cuisine’ as the most important, can’t-live-without resort amenity.
  6. Summer travelers aren’t always kidding around.
    Summer may be known as the heart of family-travel season, but more than a third of those surveyed indicated they do not travel with children, period.
  7. The family that travels together plays together.
    Those who are traveling with children made it clear: while they appreciate “kids’ camps” to entertain their little ones on some vacations – they also want to spend quality time with their children. 69 percent of respondents are seeking accommodations and destinations that offer new experiences the entire family can do together, with a focus on the outdoors.
  8. There’s a reason they call it ‘classic’
    Back to basics it is! Folks are looking to keep it simple when it comes to summer travel. 22 percent of participants identified a sight-seeing road trip as the most appealing type of vacation, and more than 82 percent (!) think America’s National Parks are hot this year.
  9. New experiences wait for no one… else.
    Solo travel will continue to be a hot topic in 2013.  65 percent of people who plan to travel alone will be seeking out classes or interactive learning programs.  More adventurous by nature, single travelers indicated a strong interest in learning a new skill (from surfing to climbing), and will be crossing items off their bucket list this summer.
  10. Vacations learn to get cutting edge, literally.
    A large majority of travelers are seeking to learn new skills during their vacations. Culinary classes are extremely popular – with 38 percent of respondents indicating they would be interested in a cooking or wine/beer tasting course – as are adventure skills, with 52 percent of respondents looking for lessons in active/outdoor activities.

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