In less than a week, the United States will observe the annual three-day Memorial Day weekend which kicks off the summer travel season.
As part of an online survey of 2,500 US leisure travelers fielded in early May 2012 covering topics such as technology device ownership, travel-related mobile and social media behavior, and ancillary revenue, we included questions about their travel plans for the Memorial Day weekend and the summer of 2012.
Based on the latest available US Census data (2010), there are 191.2 million US adults. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project’s February 2012 tracking study estimates that 80%, or nearly 153 million, are online. As a result, Atmosphere estimates that 80% (122.4 million) of these online Americans took at least one leisure or personal trip in the past 12 months to a destination at least 50 miles away from their homes.
Highlights from our survey:
- This Memorial Day, online travelers and their friends will approach 79 million people. Twenty-eight percent of US online travelers — that’s 34.3 million people — are somewhat or extremely likely to take a Memorial Day weekend trip. Of these likely holiday travelers, most will be traveling with others. Only 17% plan to travel solo. Most (35%) are planning to travel with one other person, but 1 in 10 say they’ll be traveling with five or more people (cue your choice of theme songs from either The Brady Bunch or Friends). Atmosphere estimates that US online travelers and their friends and families traveling with them over the holiday weekend will total 78,770,729.
- Holiday weekend travel spending should be slightly higher than 2011 levels. Memorial Day travelers tell Atmosphere they expect to spend, on average, $677 for their transportation, lodging, rental cars, and attraction tickets (e.g., theme parks). That amount doesn’t include spending for food, shopping, and other types of entertainment such as movies or concerts. Though the largest block of Memorial Day travelers (49%) plan to spend about the same amount this year that they spent last year, more (29%) plan to spend more in 2012 than they spent in 2011, while one in five plan to spend less. Among likely holiday weekend travelers, 45% included their trips in their travel budgets, while 1 in 4 indicated this was an incremental, unplanned trip that they hadn’t initially budgeted.
- Most, but not all, will stay away from home at least one night. Just a few weeks before the weekend, 12% of the travelers in our survey hadn’t yet made up their minds regarding how long they’d stay away over the weekend. Seventeen percent of online travelers are planning day trips. Fifteen percent are planning an overnight trip, 26% are planning two-night escapes, 16% are planning to stay away for three nights, and 14% are planning trips of four or more nights (lucky them!).
- Few travelers are considering hotels, motels, and B&Bs. Sometimes getting away from home means…going to someone else’s home. Though 39% of likely Memorial Day travelers are planning to stay at hotels, motels, and B&Bs, almost as many (37%) are planing to stay with friends and family. Another 6% plan to stay at a vacation home they own, and 4% plan to stay in a home they’ll rent for the weekend.Nine percent plan to spend the weekend at campgrounds or in RVs. Hotel executives, don’t give up hope: 5% of the people in our survey weren’t sure where they’d stay. That’s not much, but lodging executives with an excess of empty rooms can probably take advantage of declining gas prices to tap into some travelers’ last-minute wanderlust — and maybe convince some of the travelers current planing to stay with Aunt Tillie that they’d have a better weekend if they stay at your property.
Our survey also included questions regarding consumers plans for their 2012 summer season travel plans. We’ll be analyzing the results and sharing those soon with clients.
How about you? Will you be traveling for the Memorial Day weekend, or staying home? Please share your thoughts with us. And, as always, if your organization has marketing, eCommerce, distribution strategy, mobile, social media, or technology projects that Atmosphere can assist you in, please let us know.