Surprising Travel Trends of 2015 – So Far
The First Four Months of 2015 in Travel
There has been quite a bit in the news about rate parity (Hotels setting minimum rates that OTAs are allowed to sell at), and the consolidation of travel companies (Expedia and Priceline own 80% of America’s OTA business*) – yet we find that most travelers simply want a hassle-free booking experience with the best available rates for the hotels in a given location.
Yet with the ‘Big Two’ online websites’ huge advertising budgets (more than $2 Billion), consumers will have to weed through the clutter a bit to find a booking experience that fits best.
We surveyed the leadership team and travel agents at Last Minute Travel to gather insights into the trends for the first third of 2015.
Q. What cities did travelers stay in most this year?
- Las Vegas
- New York
- Kissimmee (Near Disney World)
With rates in Las Vegas remaining attractively low (I found rates for a 4-Star hotel at $53), and the addition of activities (the world’s tallest observation wheel called High Roller, and the VooDoo Zipline in the Rio to name a couple) are keeping Vegas in the forefront of vacationers’ minds.
Q. Are travelers really booking ‘last-minute’?
The average time between booking and check-in is 26 days, and the median is 11 days. With the introduction of travel apps, such as Last Minute Travel Deals, anyone can book a hotel for the next day, or even the same day, however, it is still the exception of the rule (accounting for less than 5% of bookings). Airline reservations should still be done at least 21 days in advance to secure the lowest rates, most of the time.
Q. What are the trends in international travel?
While Cuba best online casino may be getting the headlines for its up and coming travel opportunities, Europe is getting the business. With the strength of the dollar (helping your dollar go farther in Europe), Paris is the recipient of the most bookings so far this year. London will likely surpass that mark (as it usually does each year), while Cancun and nearby Playa del Carmen will continue to draw more American travelers than any other international destination due to its favorable location, easy access, and fabulous resorts at low rates (I found a four-star beach resort for only $61 on www.LMTclub.com)
Q. What was the busiest week for check-ins?
The week of March 22 – 28 has had the most check-ins so far – think: Spring Break – up about 18% over last year.
Q. Is LMT Club growing memberships?
Yes, at an accelerated pace! The Club has garnered more than 40,000 new members in 2015, partly due to partnerships with employee benefits companies, and exposure within media, such as on Oprah’s OWN, E! Network, Lifetime Movie Network and more.
Q. Why are people joining LMT Club?
With everything you need for travel at a discount (flight, hotels, car rentals, activities tickets, and more), members get wholesale rates that cannot be found on the web (because of rate parity contracts). The Club cannot advertise specific deals, so the savings are passed on to members.
Q. What can we expect for the rest of 2015?
Look for ecotourism to continue to be popular, as well as hotels catering to Millennials (free wi-fi and charging stations), and smaller, more boutique-type hotels that have personalized service (see story: Hilton introduces boutique brand Canopy).