Summer is a busy season for tours and attractions operators, with the vacation-heavy months bringing with them an influx of people looking for things to do. But how - and when - are travelers booking activities?
Not very far in advance, it turns out. According to a new consumer report from Arival, which surveyed U.S. adults planning a trip this summer, just one in four travelers plan to book all of their activities ahead of their travel date.
The remaining three out of four travelers say they will book at least some portion of their activities while on location.
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The breakdown finds that 23% of respondents will book all of their activities in advance and 24% will book most of their activities before departure, while 16% will book about half in advance, 18% will book most in-destination and 17% will book all of their activities upon arrival.
What this means for tours and activities providers is that, although booking platforms like online travel agencies prefer reservations to occur pre-trip, the reality is travelers aren’t fully trained to book in advance just yet. The market is still largely in-destination, and it’s incumbent upon travel brands to still try and capture those bookings.
However, as the booking of tours and activities continues to move online at a rapid pace, there will perhaps be a shift in when travelers book, as well.
Local looms large
The report also finds that local experiences - the hallmark of Airbnb’s Experiences offerings - are sought-after activities for travelers during the summer.
Although some studies point to a decline in interest in home-sharing - or rather, living like a local - the Arival study indicates one in three active travelers wants to experience destinations like a local, with 33% of respondents desiring a unique tour or experience with a local.
Of the types of tours travelers plan on taking, beer- or drink-related tours account for 28% of traveler interest, off-the-beaten-path or neighborhood tours make up 24% and food tours account for 23%.
Younger travelers ages 18 to 34 are the most interested in experiential outings such as food and drink tours or art and history tours, though those types of experiences are less popular among the 35 to 44 age set, indicating family travelers are opting for different kinds of activities.
Overall, summer travel looks strong, with more than half (57%) of travelers planning on taking two or more trips this season.