The short-term prospects for the US vacation market seem a bit more promising, according to two just released surveys from Ypartnership, the travel and leisure industry advertising and public relations agency specialist.  This is good news for travel affiliates and travel suppliers alike, and a look at the two survey’s findings can help both groups fine-tune their marketing programs.

According to the results from Ypartnership’s recently updated 2009 National Travel MONITOR and travelhorizons surveys, the remainder of 2009 looks relatively strong for the domestic leisure travel industry, with Western states declared the big winners for the traveler’s share of mind and wallet, followed closely by those states in the South.

The findings from Ypartnership’s travelhorizons survey conclude that fully 54% of U.S. adults are planning at least one overnight trip during the next 6 months, up from 50% during the same period in 2008.

Separately, the updated 2009 National Travel MONITOR revealed some interesting findings of its own.  For example, when survey participants were asked which specific US regions they’d prefer to visit on vacation during the next two years, 72% of all leisure travelers cited the western region of the United States as their first choice, followed by the South at 62%, the Northeast with 33% and the Midwest placing last at 21%.  Ypartnership noted that there was a drop in interest in the West and Northeast since 2008, while the appeal of the South and Midwest remained consistent.

Digging deeper, Ypartnership also delineated the top vacation states that Americans would like to visit, as well as the “dream destinations” identified by these same travel consumers.

Here are the ‘winners’ in the state ‘competition’ based on the unaided questionnaire portion of Ypartnership’s survey:

State

Percent  Mentions  2009

Florida

34

California

30

Arizona

16

Hawaii

16

New York

15

Washington

13

Alaska

12

Colorado

12

Texas

12

Nevada

11

Another section of the 2009 National Travel MONITOR survey dealt with destinations.  According to Ypartnership, in terms of specific destinations, The National Parks was the clear winner in 2009, “…not only as the destination with the greatest interest from leisure travelers, but as the destination with the most growth in consumer appeal since 2008.”

The top vote getters for this portion of the 2009 National Travel MONITOR (which was conducted using aided prompts) breaks down as follows:

Destinations

Percent  Mentions  2009

National Parks

66

Hawaiian Neighbor Islands

63

Honolulu

59

Florida Keys

45

Orlando

40

San Diego

39

San Francisco

38

Las Vegas

36

New York

36

Lake Tahoe

34

In the press release that announced the survey results, Ypartnership’s chairman and CEO, Peter C. Yesawich, said that “Given that a lower proportion of U.S. travelers are planning to take an international trip during the next two years, the results of this year’s MONITOR underscore the high degree of interest in travel within the United States. And the data suggest there is a wonderful opportunity for preferred destinations to capitalize on this trend.”

TravelDividends strongly agrees with Yeaswich’s conclusions, and suggests travel affiliate marketers and travel suppliers use this (as well as other findings from travel market research firms or travel companies like PhoCusWright, Euromonitor, and Expedia Travel TrendWatch, to name a few terrific sources) to recalibrate their travel product portfolios and campaigns.

With the uncertainties that continue to plague our economy, and the growing demand by travel consumers’ for value, low-cost and flexibility from travel retailers and suppliers, staying on top of shifts in consumer behavior and travel patterns is all the more critical to ensuring your business remains profitable and is better able to weather the economic storm.

TravelDividends would like to hear from our readers how they have been adjusting to the market conditions and what shifts and changes travel affiliates and travel suppliers have been making to their businesses in response to changes they’ve seen in their customers.  Drop us an email…and let us know your thoughts.  Thanks!

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