I don’t plan for vacations and I wonder if there are more people out there like me than I think there are.
Last week was National Plan for Vacation Day and I’m not surprised at all that I missed it. That should tell you all you need to know about my vacation-planning skills.
The point of Plan for Vacation Day is really about encouraging Americans to take their time off, and as someone who has always left vacation days on the table, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf when it comes to reminding myself and my team to take those days.
But that other part of PfVD, the “planning” part, I get anxiety just thinking about it. I plan a lot of things really, really well (dinner parties, escape routes at events, work meetings), but vacations are not one of them. I am 100% a bleisure gal. I travel a lot for work, and I tack fun trips on to the front and back of those work trips all the time. I plan what I need to plan just-enough ahead (flights, hotel stays), but my activities are largely planned in the moment after I talk to and observe local people.
Sure, I’ve been burned a couple times. Once, I had to talk myself into a hotel that I swear I had booked in advance (but had not, and they were sold out). Or the time I had to spend the night in an outdoor public toilet in Europe because there were no hostel beds available. Usually, I come out just fine, though.
In my role covering the hotel industry and, by proxy, larger travel trends, I always notice a huge discrepancy when it comes to vacation-planning data. On one hand, you see data showing how people visit 10 billion websites and spend an average of, oh, 1,347 hours, researching every step of their vacations and hotel selections and so forth. Then, the next minute you see statistics showing how last-minute hotel bookings are happening more than they ever have.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Different strokes for different folks, right? And different behavior for leisure and business, too, of course. Just because the thought of spending a zillion hours researching the absolute lowest prices, best experiences, insider-tips blogs and so on gives me chills, it doesn’t mean it does that for everyone.
But just knowing how different people are when it comes to planning travel, I’m curious to know more about how hoteliers manage it and what you notice when it comes to trends changing over time.
Destination matters, of course. If you’re going to Disney World for a week with three kids, you’re likely not going to just show up and hope for the best when it comes to hotel room availability and park planning … or are you?
That’s what I’m most curious about—how travel booking has changed for vacation and resort destinations. These are the places I expect to be booked so far in advance with no wiggle room … but maybe, just maybe, there are more people out there like me than I think, and even those windows are getting shorter.
This is where you come in: I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’ve seen vacation planning change in recent years from a hotel perspective. (And if you know how to get me a place at the North Rim Lodge in Grand Canyon, which sells out every year in less than a second and I’m always late to the party, let me know!) Comment below, email me at email@example.com or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph.
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