A new survey shows that Americans have a lot of vacation days to use up by the end of the year, providing a targeted marketing opportunity to savvy travel marketers across the world.
The survey, conducted by American Express as part of their seasonalÂ Spending & Saving Tracker report, found that 17% of thoseÂ that earn paid vacation days will leave some of their days unused.
The average employed American has eight unused vacation days, and 34% of those days will expire in the New Year.
Over half of employees lucky enough to have paid vacation days will be using them between September and the end of November, with 43% taking their days in the month of September.
The majority who plan on using vacation days in the rest of 2012 will use them for friends and family time. 40% will use their paid vacation for travel, 37% for spending time locally with friends and family, and 35% will use their vacation days for personal time.
When it comes to saving money this fall, 35% of vacationers will turn to family and friends for lodging. Of particular interest to the hospitality industry, 21% will use loyalty points to trim the cost, 26% will seek deals in advance to save money. Surprisingly, only 10% will save money by booking last-minute.
The last-minute statistic is an important indicator of where the consumer lies in regards to using available last-minute channels such as HotelTonight to save money. Recent discussions here on Tnooz show that industryÂ consultantsÂ caution hotels from shifting too quickly to last-minute inventory, and hotels are carefully testing out offers of distressed inventory on last-minute channels.
This timely research provides some key insights into the expectations of the fall traveler.
Travel marketers looking to promote a particular destination, offering or activity should consider these numbers as they target their fall promotions: Is this a family activity that could tie into the family holiday? Is there a chance to sell a spa treatment and other “me day” splurges? How about those looking to spend more time with friends and family locally – what sorts of activities might they be interested in?
Finally, there’s the potential to convert the 17% of those unused vacation days into action – what about a campaign that targets that 17% of unused days, offering a special deal to those committing to use up their paid vacation days? Staycations could be a very unique angle here – take Friday off, pamper yourself all day, and then meet up with family at the hotel for a weekend away from home.