by Pamela Lanier
Half of all U.S. adults take at least one weekend trip per year – that’s almost 103 million adults who are on the road for at least a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night stay – according to the latest Travel Pool by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA).
They also found that:
Almost 30% of Americans have taken five or more weekend trips in the past year and 35% say they’ve taken their children with them during weekend travel.
Four in ten (42%) weekend travelers make last-minute plans and select their destination within two weeks of their trip.
Last-minute planners are twice as likely as those who selected a destination more than two weeks in advance to have taken five or more weekend trips per year (40% vs. 21%).
Forty percent of weekend travelers report they are taking more day trips and/or weekend trips (38%) today than five years ago.
Interest in trips lasting more than one week seems to be declining – 43% of weekend travelers claim they are taking fewer long trips than they did five years ago.
What do these statistics mean to the Bed & Breakfast industry? It means that innkeepers are getting a lot more weekend traffic and last-minute bookings from people who have never visited inns before. Impersonal hotels and motels are no longer ideal vacation accommodations since most of this group are also business travelers who stay at these places too often. For vacations, they want to go to some place special, some place with more personality and ambiance. Inn getaways are just what these frantic travelers need. Some place not too far from home, but, in attitude, a million miles away. Someone to think of the little things that they never have time for: a comfortable room, a luxurious bath, a great view, and a little personal attention. A leisurely extraordinary breakfast or brunch is a special treat for those who usually skip that meal. The personal attention and unique hospitality that inns provide to their guests is becoming even more important to these weekend-only travelers. They rush through life trying to squeeze short vacations into their hectic schedules. They decide to get away at the spur of the moment and don’t want it to be more trouble than it is worth.
These guests feel extra pampered when they are given lots of choices of easy to do activities.
Romance packages that include champagne, candlelit dining, horse-drawn carriage rides, just to name a few.
Sports packages – skiing, golf, hiking or mountain biking itineraries that include picnic lunches, equipment rental and shuttle services.
Spa packages that include massage treatments, facials, whirlpool and spa rooms, and nutritious lunches.
Wine or foods tasting that include free samplings, shuttle service, and lunch.
Or as simple as: Dinner packages that include breakfast or brunch and dinner at one price.
Shopping packages including shuttle service and maps.
Sightseeing packages that include maps and free entrance fees to parks or museums.
They may arrive frazzled, probably a little later than expected, perhaps even dropping their luggage as they get out of the car, but they leave relaxed and refreshed. Inns can provide a great service to these guests: small but very important times for them to unwind and spend quality time with their significant others. And on Monday morning when they are back in the “rat race,” their co-workers and associates will notice the difference.
“What’s up with you?” the co-worker asks.
“We went to a bed and breakfast this weekend.” And a little twinkle comes to their eyes, “we’re going back again as soon as possible.”
Pamela Lanier is author of The Complete Guide to Bed & Breakfasts, Inns and Guesthouses, presently in its 18th annual edition, host of TravelGuideS.com available on over 7,000 Internet sites and portals and, with a membership of over 6,000 inns, hers is the largest organization worldwide of independent innkeepers.
Please address article comments to: Claude or Mariette Gagne ~ The B&B and Country Inn MarketPlace
926 Lenoir Rhyne Blvd., SE, Hickory, NC 28602 | Email us
Toll free 877-828-2323, Office: 828-324-7291