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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors 

Consumers Gobble Up 2013 Thanksgiving Travel Deals

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November 27, 2013

In 2013, more than 40% of travelers are taking longer trips during Thanksgiving - of 8-14 days in duration - up from 35% from 2012. Also, more travelers are treating themselves to upscale accommodations.

Consumers worked harder and booked earlier to get low air fares for Thanksgiving travel this year. But while striving to hold down air travel costs, they rewarded themselves with a bit of luxury. Considerably more Americans this year are turning Thanksgiving weekend into longer, vacation-length trips.

There is also a significant increase in the number of travelers staying in pricier hotels and heading to sunny beach destinations - especially in Mexico and the Caribbean - according to Adara, the leader in reaching audiences through the use of real-time traveler data.

Adara's analysis of Thanksgiving travel looked at US travelers shopping and booking patterns for departures November 21st-28th, and returning on November 29th or later, utilizing their extensive network of shopping, booking, loyalty, and mobile data derived from more than 1 billion travel transactions that the company processes each month.

Findings include the following:

In 2013, 11 percent more travelers booked air fares between 4 and 12 weeks in advance of the year's busiest travel weekend. Nearly 1 million deal-hunters booked earlier than last year - as early as August and September - heeding advice in the media about rising fares and reductions in airline schedules.

Underscoring their bargain-hungry mentality, consumers searched air fares an average of nine times before booking, an 80 percent increase over 2012, when they searched an average of five times.

More than 40 percent of travelers are taking longer trips of 8-14 days in duration, up from 35 percent in 2012. While Thanksgiving trips usually involve a long weekend, nearly 1 million more Americans this year are turning their turkey days into extended vacations.

Many of those vacationers are headed to tropical resorts. Thanksgiving travel to Mexican/Caribbean destinations is up 35 percent from 2012, with San Juan, Puerto Rico, as the No. 1 destination, followed by Cancun, Mexico City, Cabo San Lucas, Santo Domingo, Puerto Vallarta, Nassau, Aruba, Montego Bay and St. Thomas.

More travelers are treating themselves to upscale accommodations. The number of travelers booking hotel rooms that cost $300 per night or more jumped by 20 percent.

Fewer travelers are flying solo. The number traveling in groups of two or more rose 4 percent this holiday season.

Adara's data partnerships with industry-leading travel companies, combined with its many travel advertiser relationships, provide the company with unique insights into how travelers behave while shopping and booking trips online.

"Our insights reveal that in booking Thanksgiving travel this year, Americans are determined not to spend more than they have to, so they're planning trips earlier and more actively searching their options," said Layton Han, CEO, Adara. "But, they're also not letting the cost of travel keep them at home and many are even treating themselves to a week or two of vacation."

While many people picture family get-togethers and spending the weekend at Grandma's, travelers are also increasingly celebrating the holiday in more non-traditional ways. They are using up accumulated vacation days and heading to warm weather destinations for relaxation and family fun. This non-traditional way of spending the holiday, as well as travelers' willingness to expend significant effort searching for deals, underscores the need for airlines and hotels to experiment with new advertising strategies that cater to consumers' travel preferences and desire for personalized offers.

"In order to capture more bookings, travel advertisers need to be more creative in their digital advertising campaigns," Han said. "Think beyond the typical, seasonal creative by appealing to consumers' desire to enjoy the holidays in tropical resort destinations. Using ads with dynamic content, for example, can help travel suppliers get budget-priced hotels and vacation packages in front of price-sensitive travelers, while showing four-star or five-star offerings to consumers who like to book upscale accommodations."