ARC: More Travelers Booking Early This Year
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Travel agents are booking holiday trips earlier for their clients this year, while many of those trips include destinations far from home, according to recently-released date from the ARC MarketPlace.
The data deals with holiday bookings made through the ARC MarketPlace from 2013 up until now, with a focus specifically on November and December. The ARC MarketPlace is a business tool enabling travel agents to book commissionable products, including tours, car rentals and activities.
The data for each year includes when agents made bookings and the most popular destinations and tours, both domestically and internationally, for Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas week and New Year’s Eve.
“A longer trip in distance many times also means a longer stay at the destination, to account for jet lag and longer travel times,” said Edyta Satchell, ARC’s director, product management. “A longer trip that is further away from home generally causes more planning for the traveler which requires them to book in advance. Over a quarter of each holiday’s travel bookings are happening two months before the holiday or even earlier."
The takeaway: Travel agents and their clients need to get ahead of the planning even earlier than was once the norm.
The numbers outline how year over year, more people are booking early, while fewer are booking within the month of their planned trip.
For Thanksgiving 2014, 50 percent of bookings were made in November, 27 percent in October and 23 percent earlier. In 2015, 40 percent of bookings were made in November, 34 percent in October and 26 percent earlier.
For Christmas 2014, 45 percent of bookings were made in December, 24 percent in November and 31 percent earlier. In 2015, December booking data is not yet available but 29 percent of bookings were made in November and 71 percent earlier, both figures as of Nov. 16.
And for New Year’s Eve 2014, 57 percent of bookings were made in December, 22 percent in November and 21 percent earlier. Figures are not yet available for December 2015 but 22 percent of booking were made in November and 78 percent of bookings earlier, both figures as of Nov. 16.
When it comes to destinations booked, the most popular for 2014 were:
• Thanksgiving Weekend: New York City, Grand Canyon National Park and Las Vegas, domestically; Paris, Florence and Sydney, internationally.
• Christmas: Maui, Las Vegas and New York City, domestically; Paris, London and Sydney, internationally.
• New Year’s Eve: New York City, Las Vegas and San Francisco, domestically; Paris, London and Sydney, internationally.
• Thanksgiving Weekend: New York City, Las Vegas and Orlando, domestically; Paris, Rome and Florence, internationally.
• Christmas: Las Vegas, Maui and New York City, domestically; Paris, London and Rome, internationally.
• New Year’s Eve: New York City, Maui and Oahu, domestically; Paris, Christchurch (New Zealand) and Sydney, internationally.
“In recent years we are seeing an increase in international travel over domestic travel. For family vacations it is customary for the elder family members to pay for travel, however with young professionals we are seeing a greater international travel rates due to an increasing discretionary incomes,” according to Satchell.
“It is not surprising to see Rome, Paris, and New York City at the top of the charts for almost every holiday weekend,” she said. “These are the best performing destinations regardless of the time of the year. One of the most intriguing destinations is Las Vegas. It is frequently a top worldwide destination month in and month out, however around the holidays Las Vegas tends to lose favor.”
ARC is also seeing more travelers who prefer international destinations to domestic destinations for the holidays,” Satchell added.
“In recent years, destinations such as Sydney, Christchurch, Maui, and Oahu are popping up in the most popular destinations,” she said. “This shows that travelers are willing to go travel further from home than they used to. In addition holiday season is the perfect time for reunions. We are seeing that more people are traveling in groups whether it’s for family vacations or groups of young professionals traveling together.
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