Expedia poll: Travelling relatives prefer hotels

Expedia.com introduces the latest issue of its quarterly report, Expedia Travel Trendwatch, focusing on the upcoming fall and winter travel seasons.In the latest report, 20-year travel industry veteran and Expedia Travel Trendwatch Editor, Chris McGinnis, reveals the findings of a recent Expedia.com consumer survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

It shows that more than 42 percent of U.S. adults would prefer to stay in a hotel than with their family if they were visiting family out of town for the holidays. The report also provides trend information, travel tips, and deals designed to help people make better travel decisions and navigate the upcoming busy holiday travel season. To view the complete report, please visit http://www.expedia.com/trendwatch .

“There’s no doubt the upcoming travel season will be a busy one, with millions of Americans leaving their homes to be with their friends and families,” said McGinnis. “Many people are looking to reduce stress by giving themselves more space and the privacy of their own hotel room, rather than crowding in with their family.”

Key fall and winter travel trends and tips reported in the current issue of the Expedia Travel Trendwatch(TM) include:

  1)  During the upcoming Thanksgiving/winter holiday season, crowding on
      airlines, at airports and on freeways will likely echo this past
      summer’s full loads.
      —Smaller airline fleets and fewer seats, coupled with increasing
        demand, mean holiday flights this year may be as crowded as those
        this past summer, when planes were flying 90 to 100 percent full
        (typical load factors are in the 65-75 percent range). The
        addition of winter coats, shopping bags and holiday gifts carried
        on board will make flights feel even tighter.
      —Despite the crowds and frustrating changes in TSA carry-on rules,
        U.S. adults are still planning to travel this fall and winter.
        The Expedia.com consumer survey, reveals that of those who plan
        to travel by air this holiday season, 80 percent plan to travel
        as much (45%) or more (35%) than they did last year. The same
        poll indicates that nearly a quarter (23%) of U.S. adults (about
        55 million people) plan to travel by air during the upcoming
        Thanksgiving and winter holiday seasons.


  2)  Holiday hotel rates are rising with demand.
      —The hotel industry has enjoyed one of the best years on record in
        2006, with occupancy and room rates soaring to record levels.
      —Despite higher rates, more holiday travelers are bedding down in
        hotels. In fact, more than 42 percent of U.S. adults said they

        would prefer to stay in a hotel if they were visiting family out
        of town for the holidays.

  3)  Look to off-peak travel for fall/winter travel deals.
      —While traveling during autumn’s shoulder and low seasons can
        yield significant discounts in certain seasonal destinations,
        year-round peak pricing is emerging in popular destinations such
        as New York City, Boston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Honolulu, Miami,
        San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
      —More international visitors and a relatively strong economy
        fueling growth in business and leisure travel mean increased
        demand and pricing in top destinations.

  Expedia Travel Trendwatch(TM) Holiday Travel Tips
  Smart Planning
  —For those planning travel during peak holiday weeks, now is the time to
    make reservations—if you see a decent fare, grab it because it is
    unlikely that there will be much discounting as the holidays approach.
  Getting There from Here
  —When flying during peak weeks, opt for an early-morning flight to avoid
    crowds and delays.  If possible, book a nonstop flight. As a second
    choice, route through hubs less likely to be affected by winter storms.
  Booking the Right Hotel
  —Seek out hotels that offer complimentary amenities like breakfast,
    parking or Internet access. For example, a family of four could start
    off the day saving almost $40 by staying at a hotel with a
    complimentary breakfast.
  Where to Go for the Best Deals
  —Consider the Caribbean this winter. With fares to Caribbean
    destinations at a low point due to the recent entry by discount
    carriers, the region is increasingly affordable.  Smart travelers have
    taken note of this, and at Expedia.com, the most popular Caribbean
    destinations for flight+hotel packages are Jamaica, the Dominican
    Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Aruba.