Agents Identify Top Travel Destinations

Heart Tail

As the seasons change, so do the rankings of top travel destinations. So says Travel Leaders Group in its most recent nationwide survey of travel agents.

For the first time, the top rankings for domestic and international bookings belong to Maui, Hawaii and London. The 1,100-plus travel agency reps name the top destinations they are reserving for the remainder of the year. Results are based on actual booking data.
Two items in the news at various times during the year – Zika and the Brexit vote – may be contributing factors.

“The ‘Brexit’ vote and resulting fluctuation in the British pound has been incredibly favorable for American travelers, whether for leisure or business trips. While London has always been among the top international destinations on our list, this is further proof that travelers are very willing to adjust and seize upon a prime opportunity when there’s increased value in a particular destination,” states Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.

“Domestically, Maui has long been among the most sought after destinations for American travelers, but had never surpassed Orlando, Las Vegas or New York City for the top spot. Because the Zika virus has had an impact on some individuals’ travel decisions, particularly those who are pregnant, Maui’s positioning has been bolstered by having no cases of locally-transmitted Zika.”

The rankings:

Domestic
1. Maui, 34.1%
2. Orlando, 32.4%
3. New York City, 30.5%
4. Las Vegas, 28.0%
5. Cruise – Alaska, 25.5%
6. Los Angeles, 19.6%
7. Honolulu, 18.8%
8. San Francisco, 17.2%
9. Chicago, 14.2%
10. Washington, D.C., 12.4%

International
1. London, 31.0%
2. Cruise – Caribbean, 30.1%
3. Cancun, 29.1%
4. Rome, 23.2%
5. Paris, 17.7%
6. Cruise – Europe (river), 17.5%
7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, 17.5%
8. Cruise – Europe (Mediterranean), 13.6%
9. Montego Bay, Jamaica, 10.8%
10. Florence/Tuscany, Italy, 10.0%

Seventy-nine percent of agents said booking were higher or on par with last year at this time and more than 72% were optimistic about their business for the remainder of the year.

A Little Fun in the Sun … or On the Strip?

Though children might shriek “Disneyland” when asked where they want to go on vacation, the “adult play land” of Las Vegas is the top choice for travelers in 2011, according to results from Travel Leaders’ 2011 Travel Trends Survey.

Vegas earned the top ranking once again, following a dominance from 2003-2009. But the children aren’t far off in their desire for Mickey and Minnie Mouse as Orlando narrowly missed first place by 0.36%, with travelers choosing the bright lights of Vegas over the magical world of Disney. Orlando edged out Las Vegas as the top destination spot for 2010.

The survey, which was conducted from November 3-30 and used actual booking data and responses from Travel Leaders owners and agents, determined the top ten domestic destinations for 2011. The list also includes (in descending order): an Alaskan cruise; Honolulu and Kahului (Maui) – tied for fourth place; New York City; Washington D.C.; a Hawaiian cruise; San Francisco; and Chicago and Phoenix – tied for tenth place. International vacation destinations included spots like Cancun, Rome, London, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and several Mexican and Caribbean cruises.

Survey results also point to the fact that people are spending more on travel than they did last year, highlighting an optimistic outlook for 2011. The findings show that just over half of Travel Leaders clients will spend more this year on travel than they did in 2010, while about 38% will spend the same amount. That’s good news for the oft-struggling travel industry.

Let’s hear your top travel destinations for 2011: Will your children be successful at pestering you into taking them to Disneyland? Or, will what happens in Vegas, stay in Vegas?

ExactTarget Expands Across the Atlantic

Indiana-based ExactTarget, an Indiana Chamber member, will expand its global outreach by opening an office in Europe. The Indy Star reports:

Indianapolis-based ExactTarget is launching a new international division in London after acquiring Keymail Marketing, which uses the e-mail service for a growing number of European clients.

ExactTarget bought the four-year-old company to support the international needs of its customers and expand offerings to other marketers in the United Kingdom. No purchase price was disclosed.

ExactTarget co-founder Peter McCormick will lead the company’s international operation from London, as general manager of ExactTarget Global. McCormick, along with a team of sales, services and technical experts, began servicing international clients from the London operation today.

Scott Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of ExactTarget, said the acquisition of Keymail Marketing is "a key component of our aggressive global expansion plan and provides tremendous opportunity to penetrate the UK and European market.”

More than 70 European clients previously served by Keymail Marketing will now be served directly by ExactTarget, including: Reed Exhibitions, Aurora Fashions, Aegon, Value Retail, British Standards Institute, Gulf Air (Bahrain), Carrier International (France), UKTI (Belgium), Utimaco (Germany) and QlikTech (Sweden).