Nearly 90% of Americans will be traveling by air, car or other means of transportation this summer. If you’re one of the 90% looking to plan your perfect summer vacation, you are in luck! Travel expert, Kendra Thornton joined me recently to dish on how we can work travel loyalty programs to our benefit, the top travel trends among young travelers, pets and technology, most popular and least popular travel destinations of the season!
Candace Rose: From airlines to car rental to hotels and motels, how can we work the loyalty programs to our benefit?
Kendra Thornton: “One thing that travelers need to keep in mind is that not all loyalty programs are created equal. You really need to read the fine print because some are good at getting you domestic flights, some are better at getting you international flights and some are better at getting you hotel stays. Shop around for the loyalty program that best aligns with what you want to get out of it as a traveler.
Secondly, look for those credit card programs that are going to give you a big bonus miles period. It’s usually a three to six months period when you sign up and it’s an introductory offer, but it’s wonderful because you can get as many as 13 miles per dollar spent versus the average is about one to two dollars spent, so that’s a great way to really maximize getting loyalty points quickly.
Lastly, I want to mention that I’m at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Virginia Beach and it’s a beautiful day here. They’re a part of the Choice Hotels Group that just did a survey on summer travel trends and they found that about one third of travelers are specifically influenced by their loyalty program in terms of how, when and where they’re going to travel this summer.”
Candace Rose: With almost 90% of Americans traveling this summer, what are some of the new travel trends?
Kendra Thornton: “There are some really interesting trends the survey unfolded, and two among the younger travelers (those millennials) and that is that one fifth of the young travelers are more likely to bring their pet along on their trip versus the older generations. They’re going to be looking for those pet friendly hotels.
Also, young travelers said they’d be more willing to lose their luggage than their personal cellphone. I thought that was really interesting insight.
Across the board, the survey found that three fourths of summer travelers are going to be driving to their destination this year and logging an average of 689 miles when they do. In fact, about half of those surveyed said they would rather take a two hour drive than deal with a flight or a train or a bus to get to their vacation.”
Candace Rose: What are some other things travelers should be on the lookout for when booking their trip?
Kendra Thornton: “One thing is people need to keep in mind we’re not necessarily going to see lower prices this summer, if anything, we might see higher prices because airfares have gone up. Look for ways that you can get more for your money, and one thing that’s great about the Choice Hotels is they have the comfort branded, they have the sleep ins and all of those properties offer you free internet and free breakfast daily. If you’re a family of four or five – I have three young children – I know that really can add up the savings in terms of getting you a lot more for your money.
Also, really hotels across the board are stepping up the guest experience, they’re really investing in creating a better experience for guests. I think anywhere you go this year you’re going to see a lot more for the better.”
Candace Rose: What are some of the most and least popular summer destinations you’re seeing?
Kendra Thornton: “Of the people surveyed, about 50% said that they would prefer to go to a beach, like me. But after that, people said mountain destinations would be their second favorite; a city escape is third. The least popular choice was camping.
As far as the busiest month, people will be doing most of their traveling in August.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Kendra Thornton: “A great place to go for all the survey results and more information is ChoiceHotels.com.”