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National Leisure Travel Monitor Sees Leisure Travel Growth

June 5, 2007

National Leisure Travel Monitor Sees Leisure Travel Growth
June 5, 2007 –The demand for leisure travel continues to grow; however the manner in which Americans vacation is changing. According to the Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell/Yankelovich Partners 2007 National Leisure Travel Monitor, the percentage of adult Americans who have taken at least one overnight trip of more than 75 miles from home continues to rise. The study revealed that 95 percent of American adults took such a trip during the past 12 months, which is up from 92 percent last year.

One third of those surveyed expect to take more trips this year. Four in 10 say they will take the same number of trips during the year ahead and one out of four plan to take fewer vacations this year. When asked why, the most frequently cited reasons were an inability to get away from one’s job, projects at home and the strained condition of the household budget.

The most popular type of vacation remains "visiting friends and relatives" (56 percent of leisure travelers), followed by beach or lake vacations (27 percent), general sightseeing vacations (21 percent), urban or city vacations (15 percent), cruise vacations (12 percent), camping and hiking vacations (12 percent), and theme park vacations (11 percent). Less than one in 10 American leisure travelers took a gambling vacation (9 percent), while only 2 percent took a golf vacation.

Short getaways of four nights or less, including a Saturday night stay, remain the most popular vacations and represent over half of all vacations taken by Americans last year.

Quiet or soundproofed guest rooms, and noise reduction windows and walls were cited as "very/extremely influential" when selecting a hotel or resort. Frequent flyer miles are of great interest to leisure travelers, with almost half now participating in airline-sponsored programs. Additionally, three out of 10 participate in hotel frequent-stay programs.

Word of mouth referrals continue to be the most trusted source of information about travel. More than 80 percent of leisure travelers state they are extremely confident in the recommendations of friends and relatives and online reviews and blogs are increasingly popular sources of information for consumers. Four out of ten leisure travelers now report reading online reviews of both suppliers and destinations.

The majority (66 percent) of leisure travelers who are airline and hotel users now go exclusively to the Internet when planning a future vacation, while 57 percent report making reservations online. These numbers underscore how quickly consumers have embraced this new medium since 2000, when only 35 percent of leisure travelers used the Internet to plan travel and just 18 percent actually made a reservation online.

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