Perennial favorites and exciting new locations are trending this year, according to customer booking data and findings from a survey of more than 200 American Express North American Travel Counselors. Topping the list of trending destinations are London, a lasting favorite enjoyed for its famous landmarks and culture, and Santiago, Chile, offering a range of experiences for travelers wanting outdoor adventures or an opportunity to sample the food and wine unique to the region.
The survey also found that 86% percent of Travel Counselors report customers are spending more (43%) or the same (43%) on travel in 2015 compared to last year, with many customers splurging on certain aspects to enrich their trip, including:
- Spending more to upgrade hotel accommodations (47%)
- Planning on-trip activities (39%)
- Taking longer trips (38%)
- Upgrading their class of airline service (32%).
“We turned to our Travel Counselors to gain insight on what is trending in 2015 based on their first-hand experience with travelers every day,” says Laura Fink, vice president, global marketing and communications at American Express Travel. “Travelers want to see the world on their own terms, and they are willing to spend more on things like room accommodations and on-trip activities in order to create memorable experiences.”
Trending Destinations for 2015
Based on destinations booked with the greatest year-over-year growth, American Express Travel customers are turning to large cosmopolitan cities for their escapes this year. Joining London and Santiago are favorites like New York, San Francisco, and also far-flung locales like Mumbai, for a growing interest in Bollywood, and Buenos Aires, a city that immerses travelers in both European and local culture. The top ten trending destinations for 2015 are:
|1)||London, England||6)||Providenciales, Turks and Caicos|
|2)||Santiago, Chile||7)||Puerto Vallarta, Mexico|
|3)||Paris, France||8)||Sydney, Australia|
|4)||Mumbai, India||9)||New York, NY|
|5)||Buenos Aires, Argentina||10)||San Francisco, CA|
Separately, based on the survey findings, American Express Travel Counselors said they are also seeing an increase in demand for New Zealand, as well as Vietnam, Myanmar, Croatia, Iceland and Italy.
Other Notable Travel Counselor Insights:
- Memories Reign Over Savings – When asked about what their customers’ attitude toward travel is, more than one third of Travel Counselors noted they are eager to take trips and spend on memorable experiences, while another third said customers want to take trips but focus on cost / savings. Twenty-one percent answered their customers are more adventurous and want to explore new destinations, and 7% said customers want to get away but will visit the same tried-and-true destinations.
- Customization Remains a Priority for 2015 - When asked where they focus most of their time helping customers, 67% of Travel Counselors indicated it is spent crafting customized itineraries. This includes typical arrangements such as selecting the best flight and hotel accommodations, using their local destination expertise for planning on-trip activities, and scheduling free time for customers to simply relax or explore the destination on their own.
- Tours Rank Highest Among Trip Planning Requests – Travelers want their Travel Counselors to help them book tours on their trips (57%), as well as make restaurant reservations (19%) and cultural activities/museums (16%). Travelers are also looking for personalized tours that offer a more intimate and hands-on experience, such as wine tours or local cooking classes.
- Cruise Bookings Make Waves - Cruises remain a popular option – with a twist: while more than half (51%) of survey respondents expect to see an increase in overall bookings this year, 56% of Travel Counselors agree that river cruising will be a top trend this year. Compared to ocean cruises, river cruises are able to travel inland, giving travelers the chance to discover unique and local areas on a more intimate boat.
- Family Vacations Still Popular - Family travel will continue to reign in the New Year. More customers are planning to vacation with their family next year compared to any other trip. About one-in-four (23%) Travel Counselors surveyed say their customers plan to travel with their immediate family, while 19% see multi-generational family vacations on the rise.
About the American Express Travel Survey
The American Express Travel survey was completed online by 213 Amex Travel Counselors throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The survey was conducted by Ebiquity between October 30 and November 28, 2014, and the results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 6.7 at the 95 percent level of confidence.
About American Express Travel
American Express Travel is a global full-service travel and related lifestyle services provider. For nearly 100 years, American Express has helped those who love to travel customize and elevate their trip experience through world-class service, exclusive programs and premium benefits. Customers have many options for accessing these services and can travel with confidence by having support from American Express whether booking online at www.amextravel.com or speaking with travel and lifestyle experts on the phone or in retail locations.
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/companies/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.
About Ebiquity, Plc.
Ebiquity are independent marketing performance specialists. Ebiquity enables brands across the world to make better informed decisions to improve their brand and business performance across integrated communications channels. Learn more at ebiquity.com.