Carlson Wagonlit travel survey

The results of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel 2006 survey find that there’s still plenty of leisure travel activity throughout the upcoming fall months.In fact, nearly two-thirds of the surveyed agents indicated that the average length of booked fall vacations is 6-7 days.

Las Vegas continues to lead the list of domestic destinations booked by Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates throughout the U.S. for fall; Florida made a surprisingly strong showing with four cities ranked in the top ten.

The survey, conducted July 24 - August 15, 2006, includes information from 334 Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates agents, owners and managers.

Beyond U.S. borders, Caribbean cruising edged out Cancun, Mexico as the top international “destination.”

A significant trend revealed throughout this survey shows that European travel is very hot.


Overall, European bookings are up, travelers have indicated they are more comfortable traveling farther from home and Rome has jumped into the top five international destinations being booked by Carlson Wagonlit Travel experts this fall.

The Italian city climbed from 7th to 4th place on this year’s list.

“Domestically the results of our fall survey show that consumers are not shying away from Florida as one of their top warm-weather destinations,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, executive vice president of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates.

“With the variety of outstanding weather guarantee programs offered by tour operators in particular, as well as travel insurance programs, Florida is providing some of the best value among fall travel options.”

As for European travel, Block focused on the spike in interest in travel to Italy. “It is also quite evident to us that Italy has become the place to be for those traveling to Europe. In addition to Rome, we’ve seen heightened interest in experiencing Florence, Tuscany, Venice and even cruising the Mediterranean—enough for each of these options to land on our top twenty international list,” Block noted.

“The renewed fervor among Americans toward international travel has been extremely positive, whether they are headed to Europe or prefer a somewhat closer destination such as Mexico or the Caribbean,” added Block.

“However, we are still finding a disparity between those interested in traveling to close-to-home international destinations where passports are not currently required and those who hold valid passports. According to our network, less than 35% say a majority of their customers have a valid passport. Since new government regulations could require 100% passport use for air and sea travel to all international destinations as early as December 31st of this year, it is incumbent upon all of us to help educate the U.S. traveler about the need to apply now.”

When asked which statements regarding passports are accurate according to their customer base, the results are eye-opening:

                                          % of agents

  1. I’ve been advising customers of the upcoming change       87.72
  2. I’ve helped more people obtain passports               48.50
  3. A majority of my customers carry valid passports         31.74
  4. I’ve helped more people renew passports               22.16
  5. I’ve sponsored cruise nights/passport fairs/events
    that enable customers to apply for passports             8.68
  6. Very few of my customers carry valid passports           7.49
  7. Nearly all of my customers carry valid passports         3.89

  Trend Survey Results
The following lists display the top ten domestic and international destinations for the fall, along with the overall outlook for the rest of the year (based on 334 completed surveys):

  Top 10 Domestic Destinations - FALL         % of Agents ‘05 Ranking
  1. Las Vegas, NV                       80.8         1
  2. Orlando, FL                         73.7         2
  3. Honolulu, HI                         54.2         3
  4. Kahului (Maui), HI                     39.5         4
  5. New York City, NY                     37.1         5
  6. San Francisco, CA                     19.5         6
  7. Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ                 16.2         7
  8. Fort Myers, FL                       11.4         16
  9. Fort Lauderdale, FL                   11.1         15
  9. Miami/Miami Beach, FL                   11.1         9

  Top 10 International Destinations - FALL     % of Agents ‘05 Ranking
  1. CRUISE- Caribbean                     64.4         1
  2. Cancun, Mexico                       62.3         2
  3. Riviera Maya, Mexico                   38.3         3
  4. Rome, Italy                         33.8         7
  5. Montego Bay, Jamaica                   22.5         4
  6. London, England                       22.2         10
  7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic             21.6         9
  7. Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico           21.3         8
  9. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico                 19.8         12
  10. CRUISE- Mexico                       16.5         6
  10. Playa del Carmen, Mexico               16.5         5

  Top 10 FALL Cruise Destinations           % of Agents
  1. Caribbean - Western                   36.5
  2. Caribbean - Eastern                   17.4
  3. Mexican Riviera                       10.2
  4. Caribbean - Southern                   8.7
  5. Europe - Mediterranean                   6.0

  Top 3 Trends in 2006                           % of agents
  1.  International travel seems to be on the rebound         63.5
  2.  Clients are feeling more confident about traveling
      farther from home                             56.9
  3.  Europe bookings are up over last year                 53.0

  What is the average length of the vacations you’ve been booking
  for THIS FALL?
    2006 Response - Fall       % of agents
    Less than 4 days             0.60
    4-5 days                 19.46
    6-7 days                 65.87
    8-10 days                 11.68
    10-14 days                 1.80
    Longer than 14 days           0.60

  What is your personal outlook on your business for 2006?
    2006 Response           % of agents
    Very optimistic             21.56
    Fairly optimistic           53.89
    TOTAL OPTIMISTIC           75.45
    Neither optimistic/pessimistic   18.56

  Comparing your overall 2006 travel bookings so far to your 2005 bookings
  at this time last year, which is true?
    2006 Response               %
    They’re higher             55.7
    They’re about even           22.75