Consumer Sentiment Driving Labor Day Travel

August 20, 2013 by · Comments Off on Consumer Sentiment Driving Labor Day Travel 

Motorists, including RVers, will take to the open roads in greater numbers this Labor Day weekend than a year ago, says AAA.

The number of Americans traveling for the Labor Day holiday weekend will climb to the most in five years as consumer confidence boosts spending, AAA forecast.

The Associated Press reported that people taking trips of 50 miles or more from home will increase to 34.1 million from 32.7 million last year, AAA, the biggest U.S. motoring organization, said in its annual outlook. That’s the highest level since a record 45.1 million travelers five years ago. The long weekend runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.

“Consumers are the most upbeat they have been since early 2008,” according to AAA, which cited economic optimism fueled in part by a strengthening housing market.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment in the U.S. hit a six-year high in July. New-home construction climbed 5.9% to an 896,000 annualized rate that same month, and the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities rose 12.2% in May from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month gain since March 2006.

The expected gain in Labor Day travel is driven by “the increasingly positive economic outlook and optimism in the housing market,” Robert L. Darbelnet, chief executive officer of Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said in a statement. “As home prices improve in many parts of the country, more families are feeling comfortable about traveling this Labor Day holiday.”

Travel by automobile will rise 4.3% to 29.2 million travelers from 28 million a year ago. The number of air travelers during the holiday will increase 2.8% to 2.61 million from 2.54 million a year ago, making up 8% of travel, according to AAA.

As of mid-August, retail gasoline prices were about 2.7% lower than the same time a year ago, AAA said. The price at the pump last Labor Day averaged $3.83 a gallon, a record high for the holiday. Retail gasoline, averaged nationwide, fell 0.1 cent yesterday to $3.537 a gallon, AAA said today on its website, the lowest level since July 10.




U.S. Travelers Plan More Summer Road Trips

June 19, 2013 by · Comments Off on U.S. Travelers Plan More Summer Road Trips 

Scrape the bugs off your windshield and check your radiator coolant because the next few months are stacking up to be one of the top summers for road trips in years.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, with consumer confidence up, fuel prices down and frustration over airline fees growing, Americans are expected to hit the road in big numbers over the next few months, rolling to such hot spots as Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

Travel experts and surveys conducted in the last few weeks point to a season of busy freeways and crowded roadside attractions.

Three in four summer travelers said they would be taking a trip by car, up from 70% who said they planned to drive last summer, according to a survey of more than 1,200 Americans taken by the travel website TripAdvisor.

A survey by the travel website Expedia found that 14% of travelers said they were more likely to take a summer road trip this year than last year because of an improving economy.

“I think we are going to see a little more of those longer trips,” said Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), a Montana-based franchise with more than 400 campgrounds throughout North America. “It’s not going to be just the weekend trips.”

Summer reservations at KOA campgrounds across the country are up 14% compared with the same period last year, and Rogers attributes the rise to declining fuel prices and rising confidence in the economy.

“It’s not going to be a tsunami or a tidal wave, but it will be a definite wave,” he said of the road trip trend.

To read the entire article click here.


More RVers Hitting the Road This Thanksgiving

November 21, 2012 by · Comments Off on More RVers Hitting the Road This Thanksgiving 

Over 39 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Thanksgiving and of that total as many as 11 million will be traveling in an RV.

That is 6% more than last year, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

Folks in the RV industry said it is a sign people are more financially stable and more confident in today’s economy, WBND-TV, South Bend, Ind., reported.

This holiday season Pam and Jerry Cozort of Elkhart, Ind., will be traveling in their brand new RV. The couple hit retirement and decided to make some major changes, so they traded in a neighborhood for a campground.

“All of a sudden the house was gone, our stuff was gone and we were seating in a motorhome,” said Jerry.

“Once we sold the house, we haven’t looked back,” said Pam.

Now, the couple calls a spacious 500-square-foot RV home. The Cozorts will be joining the 11 million RV owners hitting the road this Thanksgiving.

RVIA spokesperson Kevin Broom said the number of travelers using an RV is up from last year, “About a million more people will be out on the road. Now that is not to surprising when you think about the numbers. There’s about 22 million to 23 million RV owners in the country. So, it is a nice uptick.”

The couple said the choice was easy. Traveling by RV allows them to bypass busy airports and save money on food and hotel costs.

Still, the Cozorts said there is an even better perk to traveling this way. “You have your own dishes, you have bathroom and bed and bedding. So, there definitely is a comfort level there,” said Pam.

Broom said that more and more people are making the switch to RVs now that the economy is growing and people are feeling more comfortable spending money.

However, he said for those still looking to cut travel costs, this can be a good way to go.

“It’s a really convenient, comfortable, flexible way to travel. Especially with the newer RVs that have more aerodynamic trailers, the fuel economy is better,” said Broom.

RVIA said a family of four will save anywhere between 23% and 59% traveling by RV, while a couple can expect to save up to 46% during their travels this holiday season.


RVers Plan More Travel This Fall and Winter

November 7, 2012 by · Comments Off on RVers Plan More Travel This Fall and Winter 

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA’s) biannual Campfire Canvass, 36% of RV owners plan to travel more this fall and winter than last year, 38% plan to travel the same amount and just 9% plan to travel less often, according to a news release.

Top reasons for taking more RV trips include enjoying outdoor activity (76%), escaping stress and pressure (67%), and spending more time with family (51%). Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said they plan to take more mini-vacations (2-4 days).

“RVing is the best way to see our great country, spend time outdoors, and reconnect with family and friends,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “No other travel option offers consumers the freedom, flexibility and value that RVs do.”

Along with getting outdoors, escaping stress and spending time with family, another primary reason why millions of owners will be traveling and enjoying the RV lifestyle this fall/winter is because they appreciate the value that RV travel delivers. Nearly 90% said that RVing is an affordable way to travel. Three-quarters said they save at least 25% when traveling in their RV compared to other types of travel, while 34% save 35-50%. This echoes a 2011 study by PKF, an international travel and tourism consulting company, which found that RVing is 23% to 59% less expensive than other types of vacations for a family of four.

In addition to saving on rising hotel costs and airfares, RV owners also avoid the expense of eating most meals in restaurants as other forms of travel require. According to the RVIA survey, 92% of RV owners said they eat at least two meals a day onboard their RVs.

Despite these uncertain economic times, 47% said that they’re considering another RV purchase, with 79% of those respondents citing the availability of “great deals” in today’s RV market. More than 57% will attend RV retail shows this fall and winter.

Of those not considering another RV purchase within the next two years, 85% said it’s because they’re happy with their current RV.

Owners surveyed will use their RVs in a variety of ways during the fall/winter travel season:

  • 73% of the respondents said that they plan to sightsee.
  • 64% visit state parks and 57% national parks.
  • 53% plan to visit friends/family.
  • 50% will attend festivals or fairs.

The survey also reveals that owners are physically active on their RV trips. For example, 54% said they enjoy hiking, 48% fishing/hunting, 31% biking and 14% canoeing and kayaking. Approximately 14% of RVers plan to tailgate at football games this fall — 53% will tailgate college games and 39% NFL.

Results also show that holiday travel remains popular with RV owners. Among the respondents, 48% said they plan to travel in their RVs over the Thanksgiving weekend and 25% over the Christmas/Hanukkah season.

Empty nester couples are planning to hit the road in a big way, as well. Nearly 80% said they’re planning to travel with schools back in session. With children in the classroom, empty nesters enjoy smaller crowds (64%), more peace and quiet (59%) and lower cost because of off-season discounts (52%).


Survey: Higher Fuel Prices Won’t Deter RVers’ Travel Plans

February 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on Survey: Higher Fuel Prices Won’t Deter RVers’ Travel Plans 

Kidd RV Resort Consulting, an integrated marketing firm specializing in the RV industry, has interpreted the results of its five-question survey to analyze the relationship between gas prices and RVers’ travel behaviors from the summer of 2011 to the winter of 2012.

The results of Kidd RV’s ongoing quarterly industry surveys are valuable for the consulting firm in order to understand RVers’ lifestyles and to better serve their clients- specifically RV resorts, according to a news release.

The Tallahassee, Fla.-based consulting firm uncovered several insightful differences between fuel survey results from 2011 to 2012. Respondents of the 2011 survey indicated that if fuel prices continued to increase, more than 70 percent of RVers would change their travel plans or behaviors. The percentage of respondents who would change their travel behaviors dropped to 27 percent in 2012, an indication that more RVers are adhering to their travel plans despite fuel prices. This fluctuation is potentially due to the 16 percent fuel price decrease that occurred from the summer through December, combined with an improving economy.

Based on survey results, RVers are more committed to paying higher fuel prices and traveling in 2012 as compared to 2011. In 2012, the majority of RVers responded that they would travel until fuel prices reached $8/gallon, while only 7.4 percent of RVers would pay $8/gallon in 2011.

Survey suggests that the nation's RVers won't be held captive by rising fuel prices this season.

In addition, 55 percent of participants are planning on traveling more than they did in 2011, 36 percent planning to travel the same as in 2011 and only 9 percent traveling less than they did last year. These results are indicative of RVers’ willingness to travel further and spend more money on fuel in 2012 as compared to in 2011.

“Understanding how RVers are affected by industry trends, obstacles and new technologies aids Kidd RV for the purpose of creating more focused marketing objectives and maximizing positive results for our clients,” says Jerry Kidd, president of Kidd RV Resort Consulting. “It is crucial for us to be in tune with RVers’ lifestyles in order to better understand the market and ways to make traveling more convenient for our target audience. Through our research on fuel costs and travel behaviors, we have gained insight about how far RVers are willing to travel to their destinations this year, and how much they are willing to pay along the way.”

For detailed charts of RVers’ responses to fuel prices and traveling, please visit:

RVers Will Still Travel, Just Not as Far

May 19, 2011 by · Comments Off on RVers Will Still Travel, Just Not as Far 

The thought of gassing up for a cross-country – or even crosstown – vacation is enough to unleash an expletive-filled rant worthy of Chevy Chase’s Clark W. Griswold.

With fuel costs hovering around $4 a gallon, many motorists and recreation enthusiasts are rethinking and reworking spring and summer travel plans, the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee reported.

Count the Jones family of Citrus Heights among those cutting back. Gone are the days when this family of seven would pile into their Honda Odyssey van and go for a drive.

Julie Jones, 36, said the family will wrap their summer vacation in with a roughly 300-mile trip to San Luis Obispo to celebrate her grandparents’ anniversary.

“When we’re going down there, we’ll include vacation time in that instead of traveling somewhere else or at another time,” she said.

Consolidating trips and staying longer will be a common theme among summer travelers, judging from interviews with consumers and travel experts.

Forty percent of adults expect to take fewer trips in the next four months because of the cost of gasoline, and 74% of those surveyed expect to reduce the number of trips by at least two, according to a recent study by the global market research firm TNS Omnibus.

If gas prices stay high, people stay home, or close to it. Consequently, cities such as Sacramento will see a drop in tourism dollars, said Mike Testa, senior vice president of convention sales and business developments for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Sacramento is a drive-in destination,” he said. “Anytime you have higher fuel prices, it impacts the amount of distance travelers will come from.”

When gas prices shot up a few years ago over Labor Day weekend – right in time for Sacramento Gold Rush Days – the event was attended more heavily by locals than out-of-towners.

“If history is the model, I think where we’ll feel it most are on those three-day holidays – Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day,” Testa said.

Spending by locals who decide against travel might soften the loss, but won’t completely cover it.

“Visitors typically spend more than a local would,” Testa explained.

When gas prices inch up, recreational vehicle owners also tend to seek destinations closer to home. In addition, they stay in one place longer and trim costs in other areas, said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the Auburn-based California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).

“They still end up going camping, but they buy the hot dogs instead of going out for a steak dinner,” she said. “They’re still going, but are spending money in different ways.”

Despite the recession and rising gas prices over the past few years, occupancy rates have held steady at about 55 percent to 60 percent at privately owned RV parks and campgrounds in California, she said.

Unlike other segments of the travel industry, which have seen double-digit downturns, camping has had almost no downturn in occupancy, she said.

“Americans feel that a vacation is a birthright, and they’re going to go. They’re just going to go with what they can afford,” Sipe said. “RVing and camping is an affordable alternative. … Plus, it offers good quality family time that you don’t necessarily get on other kinds of trips.”

The pursuit of the ideal American vacation was the stuff that helped to launch film director, producer and screenwriter John Hughes’ career. Few Americans can think of a summer family road trip without thinking of the Griswolds in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and their drive to Walley World.

If Sacramento-area families don’t pack up their RV – or in the Griswolds’ case, their Wagon Queen Family Truckster – they might head for a marina or ramp. Boaters seem determined to not let gas prices suck the fun out of spring and summer.

Fishermen regularly head to Folsom Lake, and there’s a waiting list for wet-slip boat storage, said Tom Lakes, a clerk at Folsom Lake Marina.

“If you stop and think about it, it’s one of the cheapest recreations you can do,” he said. “For a car and a boat to get into the lake, it’s only $18. Most people can go off and find enough aluminum cans to do that.”

And other area fun-seekers refuse to let high gas prices trounce their annual rituals. Suzie Trail, 46, and her mother, Rita Trail, have been saving for their vacation all year, just like they’ve done in years past.

The Trails stock up on prepaid gas and restaurant cards so they don’t spend money they don’t have while trekking across the country.

In September, they’re making the more than 2,000-mile drive from their home in Suisun City to Memphis, Tenn. No matter what.

“Even if it’s $12 a gallon, we’re going,” Suzie Trail said.

Missouri RV Park Owners Cite Extended Stays

April 21, 2011 by · Comments Off on Missouri RV Park Owners Cite Extended Stays 

With gas prices on the rise, some Missouri RV owners are changing their travel plans.

According to the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, park owners throughout Missouri are noticing these changes, KMOX, St. Louis, reported.

As the owner of Mari-Osa-Delta RV Park and Campground in Jefferson City, Harold Taylor sees hundreds of travelers every summer. But this year, he says, will be a little different. “We had some come in a couple weeks ago and they ended up staying another two weeks,” Harold said.

Extended stays in a campground will mean less time on the road, and less money spent on gas.

Larry Helms, president of the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, says park owners across the state are seeing this trend in their guests’ travel plans.

“They’re looking to stay closer to home and they’re also looking to stay,” Helms said. “They’re wanting to stay an extra day or two or maybe sometimes a week.”

For travelers, saving on fuel is essential. One RV owner says he pays almost $500 per fill-up.