NEEDHAM, Mass. - November 2, 2005 - Forget Prague and Krakow, TripAdvisor™ travelers are yearning to visit Australia this year, according to a recent survey of more than 3,000 travelers from around the world. The top three most desirable travel destinations in the next year, if money were no object, are Australia, Italy and Hawaii.
"More than 3,000 travelers from around the world told us that, rather than heading to the latest trendy hot spots this year, most are drawn to tried and true, traditionally popular destinations," said Christine Petersen, senior vice president of marketing for TripAdvisor. "Some other surprising findings were the apparent ambiguity among travelers when asked to select best and worst airlines and the fact that Americans are bigger 'germaphobes' than the rest of the world."
Uncertain Times for Airlines/Airports Means Uncertainty for Travelers
The top three airlines, according to respondents, are British Airways, American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. Surprisingly, American was also one of the three least favorite airlines, and British Airways was overwhelmingly least favorite among travelers from the U.K.
When it comes to airlines, it seems that travelers can't live with 'em and can't live without 'em. Delta was the least favorite airline and yet nearly 40 percent of those who chose Delta as least favorite participate in the Delta Skymiles program. US Airways and American tied for second least favorite airline but 36 percent of those who chose them are still enrolled in US Airways' Dividend Miles and American's AAdvantage programs, respectively.
According to the survey, travelers want to get back to the basics and are looking for service from airlines, even more so than savings. Top considerations for choosing their favorite airline were friendly and helpful staff, sticking to schedules, and best fares and comfortable seating tied for the third.
When asked, "What makes an airport great?" 76 percent said "Ease in getting around/getting to the gate;" 68 percent said, "Clean restrooms;" and 60 percent said, "Efficient security procedures."
Traveler Trends Reflect the Times
As vacations become far and few between, travelers have to make thoughtful and educated decisions on how to maximize their travel experiences. The following are some key TripAdvisor findings:
Power vacations - We've heard of speed dating, now there's speed relaxing. Eighty-three percent of travelers surveyed unwind in less than two days of vacation and 94 percent in less than four days.
"Germaphobia"? - Americans seem to be twice as "germaphobic" as travelers from other parts of the world, and 22 percent of all travelers won't leave home without one of the following: linens, pillow, disinfectant/cleaning supplies or shower shoes. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed travel with their own shampoo.
Natural disasters - According to 85 percent of survey respondents, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes are now a factor when choosing travel destinations. Sixty-five percent said natural disasters were not a consideration prior to the devastating disasters of the past year.
Star struck - Celebrities do indeed influence travel planning. Sixty-five percent of travelers surveyed have been to a destination known to have celebrity guests. The number jumps to 70 percent for Americans.
Leave your inhibitions at home - Forty-three percent of women, but only 28 percent of men, said they dress more daringly on vacation than they ever would at home.
Real men go to spas - Visiting a luxury spa was the third most likely vacation activity in the next year, following sightseeing and shopping. What was most surprising is that men are almost as likely as women to pursue pampering.
Rolling the dice? - Adventure activities topped gambling in popularity -- thirty-six percent of travelers are likely to participate in adventure activities, including heli-skiing, white water rafting and bungee jumping on their next vacation versus 33 percent who are likely to gamble.
The survey data referenced in this press release was analyzed by a third party independent market research firm, Questus. Questus assisted in survey design and provided all programming, data collection, data tabulating and reporting.