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Discovery: Traveling During the Holidays

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As retailers ready their shelves for Black Friday, hotels, airports, and other transportation companies are readying for a different rush: the holiday travelers. For many, holiday travel is a joyous opportunity to visit loved ones far away. For others, the long lines, overbooked flights, and gouged prices aren’t worth the hurried trip.

How many people will travel over the holidays this year, what drives their decisions, and how early do they make their plans? To answer these questions and more, DISQO recently asked over 23,500 members of the DISQO Audience to share their thoughts. Today, we are sharing the results!

According to the survey, about one-third of people (33%) report that they typically travel during the holiday season. This year, however, more people are planning to travel, with 40% confirming that they have a trip either planned or in the works. Comparatively, this amounts to a 21% surge over normal behaviors (40% versus 33%).

Are travel sites already seeing the surge? In most cases, the answer here is yes. When asked how early people plan their holiday travel, the vast majority (78%) plan their trips at least two months in advance. Conversely, only 22% plan their trips within the last month.

As might be expected, a majority (54%) of people confirmed that they travel during the holidays to see friends and family. Others seize the time off from work to enjoy a relaxing getaway (13%). Meanwhile, a few (5%) plan trips that offer adventure in new places.

What are people’s perceptions surrounding holiday travel? A large majority find that prices for airline tickets, hotels, and car rentals increase during the holidays (78%) and they also find it more difficult to travel due to increased traffic and wait times (76%). It’s important for businesses to remain conscious of people’s attitudes towards pricing and convenience during the holidays, since these insights can assist in retaining customers during the busiest time of year.

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Diving deeper, we also asked DISQO Audience members about how their regular travel compared to holiday travel. In this regard, a majority of people (60%) feel that they spend more money when they travel during the holidays. Given the surging cost of plane tickets on popular travel dates, this response was expected.

However, how do people feel about spending more to travel during this time, and are they getting sufficient satisfaction from the experience? Unfortunately, the answer is somewhat grim. When asked if holiday travel is more enjoyable than travel during other times of year, shockingly only 11% agreed.

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What do these results mean for businesses? While many people are ready to purchase travel tickets and accomodations during the holidays, most are still wary due to price increases and hectic airport environments. Brands and retailers who are able to alleviate travel tensions and provide assurances that their customers are getting a fair deal — even if the ticket home costs more in December than January — will be best positioned to garner customer attention and, perhaps, loyalty.

About the Studies

Discoveries shared in this article were collected over a two-part survey. The first survey, which uncovered attitudes towards holiday travel expenses and enjoyment in holiday travel compared to travel at other times of the year, reached 23,6540 members of the DISQO Audience. The second survey, which explored consumer travel plans specific to the holiday season, reached 23,500 members of the DISQO Audience.

Join the Conversation.

Will you be traveling this holiday season? Why or why not? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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