PLYMOUTH, Minn. – Today, Travel Leaders Group revealed the results from its yearly Fall Travel Trends Survey and Maui is making waves as the second most popular domestic destination for the remainder of the year, behind Las Vegas – bumping ever-popular Orlando to number three. In addition, survey data pinpoints the average amount clients are spending on an airline ticket (per person) for: the Continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. Also important in the survey findings, 80.9% of Travel Leaders Group travel agents indicating year-to-date bookings are the same or better than at this time in 2011. This survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 30 – August 23, 2012, and includes responses from 871 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with – for the first time ever – those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.
In last year’s survey, Maui was the top recommended domestic destinations by Travel Leaders. According to 2012 data for travel between September 1 and the end of the year, it appears consumers are heeding that advice, as Maui jumps three spots to rank second behind Las Vegas. Internationally, Caribbean cruising and Cancun, Mexico, continue to be the most popular destinations. In a stunning turn, Mediterranean cruising ranks #3 and European river cruising has cracked the Top 10 among all international “destinations.”
“Based on our survey data, it is abundantly clear that savvy travelers – heeding the advice of our travel professionals – are taking advantage of ‘shoulder season’ in Europe. In fact, one of the hottest trends in cruising, as well as international travel, is European river cruising because the smaller, more intimate ships are able to make stops in the heart of charming European cities and towns. The value in heading to Europe in the fall is reflected in our survey rankings,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. “What is most encouraging from an industry perspective is that 8 out of every 10 agents polled indicate their business is on par or better than last year at this time. That says that our clients have the peace-of-mind to go explore – both close to home and internationally – despite the uncertainty in economic markets domestically and in Europe. Because we help them protect their investment – in addition to personally tailoring each vacation experience – our clients are free to enjoy the whole experience, from planning straight through to when they return home.”
Travel Leaders Group travel agents from across the U.S. were asked to name the five top domestic and international destinations they’re booking for the remainder of the year. The following information and trends are based on actual booking data.
Rank Domestic Destinations Percentage 2011 Rank
1 Las Vegas, NV 44.7% 1
2 Maui, HI 37.8% 5
3 Orlando, FL 35.2% 2
4 New York City, NY 29.0% 4
5 Honolulu, HI 26.6% 3
6 San Francisco, CA 15.4% 9
7 Washington, DC 12.9% 6
8 Chicago, IL 12.6% 7
9 Los Angeles, CA 11.9% 8
10 Fort Lauderdale, FL 11.0% 16
Rank International Destinations Percentage 2011 Rank
1 CRUISE – Caribbean 44.8% 1
2 Cancun, Mexico 32.6% 2
3 CRUISE – Europe (Mediterranean) 26.4% 5
4 Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico* 24.1% 6/9
5 Rome, Italy 21.1% 4
6 London, England 20.7% 3
7 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 17.5% 10
8 Montego Bay, Jamaica 15.3% 8
9 Paris, France 14.8% 7
10 CRUISE – Europe (River) 11.3% 12
* Due to geographic proximity, these have been combined in this year’s survey.
Average Cost of Airfare for Select Geographic Destinations:
• Domestic (Continental 48): When asked “What is the average cost per airline ticket, per person you are booking for clients within the (U.S.) Continental 48?” 73.6% of Travel Leaders Group agents selected $300-499, while 12.6% indicated $500-599.
• Alaska: When asked “What is the average cost per airline ticket, per person you are booking for clients to Alaska?” 59.3% of agents stated $600-899.
• Hawaii: When asked “What is the average cost per airline ticket, per person you are booking for clients to Hawaii?” 56.3% of those polled indicated $700-999, while 21.2% indicated less than $700.
• Caribbean: When asked “What is the average cost per airline ticket, per person you are booking for clients to the Caribbean?” 52.4% of agents selected $500-699 while 15.4% $700-799.
• Mexico: When asked “What is the average cost per airline ticket, per person you are booking for clients to Mexico?” 61.3% of agents polled indicated $400-599.
• Europe: When asked “What is the average cost per airline ticket, per person you are booking for clients to Europe?” 53.3% of agents indicated $1,000-1,299.
Over 80% Indicate Bookings are the Same or Better than 2011:
When asked to compare overall 2012 travel bookings so far to 2011 at this time last year, a majority (52.1%) indicate that their bookings are higher and 28.8% indicate that they are the same as compared to a year ago.
2012 2011 2010 2009
They’re higher 52.1% 55.3% 53.7% 9.4%
They’re about even 28.8% 24.2% 23.9% 11.1%
They’re lower 19.1% 20.5% 22.4% 79.4%