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Recent studies have indicated that today’s consumers remain dead set on traveling, despite current cost-of-living concerns, even as inflation and other factors continue driving up flight and hotel prices. And, it seems that this summer’s post-pandemic travel surge is likely to continue through the fall season, and perhaps beyond.
According to Tim Hentschel, CEO and Co-Founder of online travel solutions provider HotelPlanner, there are plenty of factors that promise to help extend the travel fever we’re seeing this summer into autumn. He opines that, despite economic uncertainty and rising costs, Americans are extremely optimistic about their present finances and are altering their spending habits to prioritize travel. He reports that US travelers are tending to reallocate funds from other areas of their budgets in order to afford trips for themselves and their families.
Hentschel predicts that certain trends will continue stirring Americans’ currently rapacious appetite for travel well into harvest season. "Fall weddings are still very popular, as well as music festivals, food festivals, wine and beer festivals, antiquing events, returning to school, college tours, and of course, all the fall sporting events across the country. And don’t forget the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, which is always a major event."
There’s one major event that, it may surprise you to learn, is proving to be a massive contributor to the fall travel planning taking place among a vast subset of Americans: Taylor Swift. The beloved music superstar recently announced some new U.S. dates added to second North American leg of her phenomenally popular Eras tour.
The preternatural Taylor Swift effect is responsible for record-shattering hotel occupancy rates and unprecedented exposure levels for every destination her tour rolls into. The starlet and her impassioned army of so-called Swifties (a.k.a. seriously fanatic fans) are literally single-handedly boosting destination economies around the nation.
“Like all other host cities for Swifties, we should anticipate very high occupancy and much higher rates at hotels in Miami (Oct 19-25); New Orleans (Oct 25 - 27); and Indianapolis (Nov 1 - 3),” Hentschel forecasts. “HotelPlanner can report that we’re already seeing a noticeable surge in hotel pricing for those cities at those times. Besides a Presidential Inauguration or the Super Bowl, no other event or person has had more impact on a city’s hospitality landscape in recent years than Taylor Swift."
Hentschel also addressed a few major roadblocks that travelers will encounter this autumn, as record demand bleeds over into the coming season.
"The most pressing traveler concern remains the ongoing airport/airline delays and disruptions that we hear about every week across the country. That is having a dampening effect on more reluctant or infrequent travelers,” said Hentschel. “According to AAA, gas prices have recently surged to a new 2023 high, which may have a dampening effect on Americans' desire and willingness to travel far this fall.
“Despite the pricey petrol, Americans are expected to travel in record-breaking numbers this Labor Day and Thanksgiving weekends, potentially surpassing this year’s record 4th of July holiday travel numbers. If gas is high, then travelers will shift their budget around by choosing a location closer to home, or more affordable accommodations and restaurants. But most will still take their trip even if gas is at a record high."
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Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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