Why shoulder season is the next big travel trend
Extract from the travel market report
Times are changing. Peak seasonal destinations are no longer cold in the shoulder season – thanks, in part, to people working remotely.
Travelers traditionally seek out shoulder and off-peak seasons to land the best deals, says Ginger Taggart, vice president, brand management, Global Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. “My view, informed by the trends revealed in Crowne Plaza’s new ‘The Future of Blended Travel’ white paper, suggests that all is about to change.”
Blended travel — business travel and leisure travel combined — offers greater flexibility and has empowered today’s traveler, Taggart says.
“We are now seeing a more adaptable and flexible traveler profile, probably more opportunistic for routes and destinations as well, so travel is not tied to peak/off-peak restrictions as before. It’s an exciting time for travel and we’re closely monitoring developments in ‘blended travel’.
Viator’s “2022 Travel Trends Report” also shows that consumer travel choices have changed as a result of the pandemic, including an ever-stronger urge for the outdoors. And that’s another reason why shoulder travel season has become more popular in many destinations – experiences can still be enjoyed outdoors while the weather is still nice.
According to the report, the ten fastest growing experience categories (and 18 of the top 20) were all related to outdoor activities. And nearly half (48%) of experiences booked this year were canceled ahead of time outside.
“Many people have canceled trips in 2020 and 2021 and have more vacation time than ever before,” said Travis Vaughan, CEO of Tourbase, an online travel agency focused on Caribbean tours and activities. Alaska and some US national parks
“Coupled with their new ability to work remotely, we are seeing more vacations extend further into the shoulder seasons. While people used to plan their summer trips before Labor Day, we are now seeing much busier Septembers and even Octobers than before the pandemic. This is especially true in US destinations and national parks.
“Labor Day used to mark the end of our peak season,” says Jake Hatch, director of sales and marketing at Sanderling Resort in Duck, North Carolina. “With more travelers able to work from anywhere, over the past two years the Outer Banks has seen an increase in visitors choosing to visit after the scorching days of summer, taking advantage of lower rates and occupancy slightly lower rooms.” And good weather.
Cape Cod and the Islands are also riding the shoulder season wave. “Shoulder season bookings are increasing significantly year over year,” says Garison Beale, general manager of Greydon Hotel Group in Nantucket. “Connoisseurs realize Nantucket’s shoulder season is more appealing with fewer crowds, mild weather and a restaurant scene.”
Thanks to travel restrictions, demand for the past two years has been redirected to outdoor-oriented driving destinations, says Philip Cham, Bridgeton Holdings, Hospitality Director, the group that operates Marram Montauk. “We were the perfect location and property for travelers from New York and the Northeast.”
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