Few things are more iconic of the American experience than summer vacation. For kids and adults alike, it conjures up feelings of nostalgia, anticipation and unbridled bliss. Almost everyone can remember taking a family car ride to a favorite campsite, beach motel or hidden-away local gem on the road less traveled. Despite rainy days and arguments with siblings, people look back on their summer destinations with a sense of enchantment – recalling the adventure, history and beauty that awaited, just around the corner.
In thinking about a society’s collection of most-coveted trips, there are a great many parallels between the wants of then and now. The appeal of time well-spent with family and close friends endures – indulging in the simple comfort of a familiar place, long bike rides, relaxation, connecting to nature and of course, cannon balls into the pool.
As the domestic travel market shows strong signs of recovery, there is a heightened value attached to spending time with our close networks and wanting to return to the places and people that spark connection. Of course, we can’t completely relive our childhood experiences, but we do have the ability to create new and meaningful memories.
At the same time, while people are traveling again, things look and feel different. During this transition, it is essential to understand travelers’ intentions, concerns and anticipate future trends. Simplistic and rooted in activities of togetherness, this year’s summer travel itinerary includes drive-to destinations, staycations, and regional road trips.
Consider the recent results from a study conducted by the online national travel publication, Fifty Grande. Out of the 450+ eager travelers surveyed; 25 percent are planning a trip to see family, while 24 percent are using travel for relaxation, and 22 percent are dedicating their time to road tripping. In addition, national parks and mountains are the most popular places to visit, with beaches following close behind.
Not only is the hospitality industry on track to experience a great uptick in domestic revenue growth due to the popularity of close-to-home vacations, but RV shipments have also increased 75.9 percent from May of 2020 as society remains wary of plane travel. In addition, weekend-long stays are gaining more traction, allowing for the enjoyment of resort-style pools and waterplay along with health and wellness amenities without completely breaking the bank. This renaissance of the ‘staycation’ and ‘mini-cations’ will force hospitality hosts to make operational changes that appeal to new demand and maintain guest loyalty through a range of outdoor experiences, remote escapes and programming in support of local communities.
Ultimately, quick changes to these travel trends are inevitable and on track to shift again following society’s next social, economic or environmental dilemma. But, from a human intelligence lens, implementing the take-aways learned during this shift in buyer focus will help secure the future of hospitality. Moving forward, travel is all about designing places that people want to a part of – and stay a part of, for years to come.
Travel has a unique potential to come back stronger than ever in the years to come, as a primary engine of growth, equality and prosperity for people around the world. The hospitality sector is resilient and we look to the future with optimism, as we will see the recovery and return to global travel. In the meantime, EDSA’s mission is to continually educate ourselves and interpret new trends in designing the widest choice of offering for future guests to create unforgettable experiences.