Before a traveler can book a hotel or a flight, they have to figure out what their budget is and where they’re going. Here’s a look at the types of trips travelers take and how they plan them.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Going on a leisure trip requires more than just booking a flight and a hotel. The first step is choosing a destination, which involves research and planning.
During a recent webinar titled “Consideration phase: Travelers’ untapped opportunity,” Mark Blutstein, research analyst at Phocuswright, presented data from the company’s U.S. Consumer Travel Report, which offers insights into how leisure travelers decide on a trip, and at what point they book accommodations for that trip.
Here’s a look at the different types of leisure trips travelers take, and their budgets and reasons for booking those trips.
Before jumping into trip planning, according to Blutstein, leisure travelers must answer these questions:
- Why are they taking this trip?
- Who is going?
- How long is the trip, and what’s the budget?
- What’s the destination?
- How many destinations?
Phocuswright’s research shows that 41% of travelers took their last leisure trip because they wanted to get away or take a break. Of those surveyed, 38% said they took a trip to spend time with friends and family, and 18% took a trip because they had available vacation time from work.
“One thing we saw that had an effect on their motivation was the duration of the trip,” Blutstein said.
Based on duration, leisure trips fall into one of three categories:
- The long weekend: A trip that’s three nights or less that’s taken by a traveler to celebrate a special occasion, because the traveler had some extra money or because the traveler was given a bonus.
- The short trip: A four- to six-night trip taken by a traveler because they want to see a major attraction or have vacation time from work.
- The long trip: A trip of seven or more nights taken by a traveler because they want to see natural, cultural or historical attractions or learn/experience how people in different parts of the world live.
No matter what the length of the trip is, these travelers will likely book a place to stay, Blutstein said.
“Not only will trip length be influenced by motivation, but then (their) trip length will influence their booking patterns,” he said. “Someone who takes a long-weekend trip is just as likely as someone on a short trip or a long trip to book accommodation, whether it be a hotel, private accommodation, hostel.”
Of those surveyed, travelers did more research for long trips and had a bigger budget of $1,500 or more. These travelers pick their destination around five months before they want to take a trip, and book their hotel two to three months before the trip.
Many travelers who took long-weekend trips or short trips spent six days or less researching their destination, the Phocuswright data shows. Travelers taking long-weekend trips spent approximately $500 or less on the trip; and travelers taking short trips spent between $500 and $1,499 on the trip.
Blutstein added that travelers who plan trips around seeing natural attractions were more likely to travel internationally.