Summer vacation season is in full swing, and Americans are ready to travel—more than 60 percent of people are planning a summer getaway in 2022, up slightly from 2021, and 85% of summer travelers said they’re planning to vacation more frequently this summer compared to a year ago, according to Vacasa’s latest travel trends report.
So, what are the big travel trends to watch out for this summer? And how can destinations take advantage? Here’s a closer look from around the travel industry.
Obviously, the big story so far this summer is gas prices—61 percent of people said gas prices were “a major factor” in their summer vacation plans, according to a recent Washington Post poll. But that’s not stopping people from traveling, as 77 percent of respondents in the Post’s survey said they planned to travel by car this summer.
Other financial concerns are factoring in to travel plans, too, with hotel/lodging prices (54 percent) being cited as “a major factor” in making summer vacation plans in the same Washington Post survey. (More than half of respondents cited flight prices as a major factor.)
Airbnb recently released its summer travel report, which found that people are booking longer stays (nearly half the bookings from Q1 were a week or more), looking for unique places to stay (like farmhouses and historic homes), and searching for destinations that aren’t as crowded (the company has seen a significant increase in nights booked in towns with the smallest population density over the last two years).
So how can destinations leverage these trends?
Look locally. With fuel prices continuing to rise, travelers are more likely to visit locations that are closer to them, saving money on gas. (In fact, Travel Wisconsin’s summer marketing campaign is targeting local drive markets like Minneapolis and Chicago to reach road trippers.) Highlight how drivable your location is, and even consider marketing to locations that might be a little closer than your traditional target markets.
Highlight free and low-cost options. The Post’s survey found that the top activity people like to do on vacation is “relax” (76 percent), so find a way to show off your destination’s laid-back attractions and amenities.
Offer incentives for longer stays and repeat visits. Rewarding people who come to your destination year after year or book longer stays helps establish a strong base of returning customers and can boost your brand awareness.