Expedia eyes up travel trends

Expedia.com is introducing the latest issue of its quarterly report, Expedia Travel Trendwatch(TM). The report found that despite this summer’s big crowds and high temperatures, travelers are doing their best to get along with each other. With planes packed tighter than ever, new rules of etiquette are emerging, and travelers are changing their habits out of concern for fellow passengers. To view the complete report, please visit http://www.expedia.com/trendwatch .

“With 25 million travelers visiting the site each month, Expedia.com has considerable intelligence and information to offer to travelers,” said McGinnis. “My insight and expertise in the travel industry is coupled with Expedia(R)‘s unparalleled travel intelligence within the report to create an invaluable source of insider knowledge for travelers this summer.”

In the current issue of the Expedia Travel Trendwatch(TM), McGinnis identifies this summer’s key travel trends and offers tips to empower travelers:

1) Despite this summer’s big crowds and high temperatures, travelers are doing their best to get along with each other, changing their travel habits out of concern for fellow passengers.

  —An Expedia.com(R) survey(1) found that among those who fly, most U.S.
    adults recline their seats slowly or only half way (62%), ask
    permission to recline (15%), or don’t recline at all (13%) in
    consideration of the person sitting behind them. Only 12 percent of
    those who fly feel no regret at all about reclining their seats.

  —Historically, airline load factors hover in the 60 to 70 percent range
    on average, however this summer many airlines are approaching 90
    percent full.

  —There are two reasons planes are flying fuller than usual this summer.
    First, most major carriers are flying fewer and smaller planes.
    Second, demand for available seats has increased as the economy remains
    strong and interest in travel remains steady.

  —Trendwatch(TM) Tip:  Passengers seated on the windows and aisles should
    cede armrest space in deference to the person sandwiched in the middle,
    since those dreaded middle seats are almost always occupied this
    summer. Also be aware of blocking the aisle when boarding and stowing
    bags.
 
2) During the last decade, the travel industry has rolled out technical upgrades and new services designed to help reduce costs, enhance the online shopping experience, improve efficiency and enhance security.

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  —Technology is helping to reduce or eliminate one of the banes of the
    travel experience:  Waiting in line. New check-in kiosks at airports,

    hotels and car rental centers have helped reduce line waits
    significantly.

  —The Internet allows travelers to plan and book trips online, improving
    the way Americans travel. This year, more than one quarter of the
    world’s two billion airline passengers will book their travel online
    according to studies by SITA.

  —Waiting in line at airport security is another hurdle travelers have
    learned to take in stride. According to the Transportation Security
    Administration (TSA), 92 percent of passengers on average now get
    through security lines in 10 minutes or less.

  —Trendwatch(TM) Tip:  Assume you will encounter lines at the airport, so
    arrive early to avoid missing your flight, especially during peak
    summer travel times. Also, pack lightly if possible so you don’t have
    to check your luggage.
 
3) While rising prices are forcing some changes in the way vacationers travel, the majority of Americans are not staying home this summer.

  —All major aspects of travel are more costly this year.  Airlines have
    introduced several fare increases in 2006 resulting in an average 11
    percent increase in fares over last year according to the Air Transport
    Association (ATA). Hotel rates are also up (6 percent) according to PKF
    Consulting and gasoline is up about 70 cents per gallon since last
    summer.

  —However, despite price increases, a majority (57%) of U.S. adults plan
    to fly as much as (51%) or more (6%) than they did last summer
    according to an Expedia.com survey.(2)

  —In the wake of higher prices, consumers are using online tools designed
    to save money, considering traveling in the less crowded fall and
    vacationing closer to home.

  —Trendwatch(TM) Tip:  Let the deal determine the destination.  Plan a
    vacation and take the days off but wait until the last minute to decide
    where to visit.  During peak summer travel season you may not find
    last-minute deals to the most popular destinations, but there may be a
    bargain adventure to a new place.

 
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