Calif. Study Looks at Details of Road Trips
To help the organization navigate marketing programs for drive travelers, Visit California co-sponsored a research study with the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board and other prominent travel companies.
Conducted by PhocusWright, one of the leading vendors of tourism research, the study was designed to yield information about each stage of the travel journey, from picking the destination, gathering information and booking to travel and sharing experiences. The study aimed to create a fuller understanding of road trip travelers’ behavior, such as trip frequencies, length of stay, expenditures, destinations visited and traveler demographics. The research also answered other questions on road trip marketers’ minds, such as the maximum distance of road trips, the impact of fuel price, the spontaneity of these getaways and whether the transportation mode determined the destination or visa versa. Some of the conclusions included:
One in four hit the open road
Almost a quarter of U.S. adults (24%) took a road trip that included paid lodging within the past 12 months.
Combining expenditure on accommodations, car rentals and destination activities, consumers spent an average total of $1,745 on road vacations throughout the year.
Hotels booked for just about every trip
Almost 9 in 10 trips (89%) included a night in paid lodging.
On average, hotel guests spent just more than $1,000 on lodging during road vacations.
Leisure activities essential to the experience
Four in 10 trips included a destination activity.
Road travelers who purchased destination activities spent an average of $667 on activities and dining during their trips in the past 12 months.
Museums, zoos and aquariums are the most popular activities, but amusement/theme parks, sightseeing tours and ticketed events are close behind.
Couples’ road trips more popular than family road trips
Just over half of all road trips (51%) include just two adult passengers.
Family road trips are not as popular as they are on TV – in reality, they represent less than a quarter of all trips (23%).
Most trips short and local
Roughly 7 in 10 (71%) take at least one local road vacation every year (under three hours driving distance each way); these short trips represent just over half (52%) of all road trips taken every year.
More than half (60%) of trips are three nights or fewer in duration.
Many hotel stays booked from the road
During road trips, 20% of hotel stays are unplanned/booked spontaneously from the road.
When searching last-minute for a room, 21% looked to their smartphones, while almost the same percentage (18%) looked for a billboard or road sign.
Travel deals inspire spontaneity
About a third (37%) of road travelers considered booking a last-minute travel deal in the past 12 months.
Almost one in 10 booked a trip on impulse.
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