October is always an interesting time of year to me. While we close the month with Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, it’s also an interesting time in the travel space–a time when destinations are in the heart of the shoulder travel season and would-be visitors begin planning holiday trips for some of the busiest travel days of the year. But while many travelers have plans to visit family, destinations also have an opportunity to reach potential visitors during this busy season.
Although official 2012 holiday travel projections are yet to be released from giants like AAA or Orbitz, the holiday season is positioned well for promising returns. Already this year, AAA projected increases in other key holiday travel days as consumers “continue to prioritize travel.”
Even early predictions for end of the year holiday travel spending are positive. In a recent survey from RetailMeNot.com, the online coupon website found that 41 percent of adults typically travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, mostly visiting friends and/or family.
While just 8-12 percent take a leisure vacation these same days, there’s still value for destinations as travel expenditures are expected to average $762 per person during the holidays.
Even though Thanksgiving and Christmas are typically holidays where families travel back home rather than to new vacation locales, there’s still opportunity for destinations to reach these potential travelers.
Rather than seeking those who plan to travel, destinations looking for holiday visitors can target their own residents instead and encourage them to host Thanksgiving or Christmas this year. Not only will this help entice visitation through more natural means, but it also helps connect your destination with family—a perfect alignment during the holiday season.
Whether encouraging residents to help bring travelers to your location or aiming to carve out a slice of those visitors on leisure vacations, the 2012 holiday season is poised to follow a series of successful travel months. For destinations, this may be the perfect opportunity to reach out and seize a new method of enticing travel and gain visitors during the shoulder season.