Each fall, Travel Leaders Group conducts a survey of travel agents across the United States called, appropriately enough, the Fall Travel Trends Survey. Travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents are asked which destinations are trending upward in the months immediately ahead. What should make this survey of particular interest to you is that the agencies are asked to base their answers not on speculation, personal preference or even yours truly’s highly sought after and quickly discarded opinion but on actual forward bookings.
According to the news release of September 4th, “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.” What this means is that this year’s survey is based on a much broader sampling than in the past and thus is even more authoritative than ever!
You can read the entire survey here but I thought I would share a few highlights for those of you who live in mortal dread of inadvertently booking a vacation insufficiently “hot” (in the popular, not the climatological sense) to render your in-laws and nosy neighbors overwrought with envy. I mean, what is the point of a great vacation if you can’t tantalize friends and taunt enemies, right?
If that is your objective, than you’d better be planning to motor over to Maui (figuratively speaking, of course. I don’t recommend you try it literally.) Here is an interesting little tidbit. In last year’s survey, Maui was the top recommended domestic destination. Apparently, a lot of you were paying attention to your trusted travel advisors, always a sound practice, because this year Maui jumped three spots to number two on the hit parade, a close second to Las Vegas.
For the serious jet setters among you, what does the international scene look like? If the survey were a flower garden (never mind the fact that you would need a trowel to fill it out), Caribbean cruising and Cancun would be classified perennials. Nonetheless, the survey did offer a couple of surprises. Mediterranean cruising rose (pun intended) to number three on the list and European River cruising blossomed (that’s it, I promise) into the top ten.
That last result is not the least surprising to those of us who ply the travel trade. River cruising, whether in Europe, China or Vietnam, is experiencing a boom. I took a Rhine River cruise a while back and it was one of the best vacations I ever experienced. Not to worry, I plan to post about it very soon. As a quick aside, it is strange once you start blogging how you no longer have personal experiences, you only have potential blog posts!
I encourage you take a moment and read the entire Fall Travel Trends Survey news release. You can peruse the entire domestic and international top ten list, discover the average cost of airfares to various popular vacation destinations and even take a behind-the-scenes peek at the level of optimism we in the travel industry harbor going forward.
This is the most authoritative survey of its kind in the industry, exactly what you would expect from the Travel Leaders, the industry leading travel company. That didn’t sound self-serving, did it?