In recent years, there's been a growing interest in short-stay trips. Also known as "city breaks", these trips last between 2-5 days and are favored as more people are opting to travel to shorter distances, for shorter amounts of time. So how can tour and activity providers benefit from this shift in travel?
There's been a steady decline in longer holidays over the years. While the reasons range from country to country, there are often three main reasons: finances, time and diverse interests.
Finances play the biggest role in this change. Simply put, short stay trips are more affordable. They require less time away and can rely on inexpensive means of travel such as driving instead of flying or a bus trip instead of taking the train.
There also tend to be more discounts offered for weekend packages. Though hotels and accommodation are often looking to book their rooms for several nights in row, short-stay trips are welcome as they can lead to return business down the road. Many accommodation providers offer special discounts for those looking to stay for the weekend or 3-5 nights in a row. This can entice tourists to take the trip, as it becomes more affordable.
How to benefit:
- Keeping with the discounted theme, offer group rates and discounts to special groups like seniors or students.
- Offer a promo code or hold occasional contests that give away a free tour or equipment rentals on your social media pages.
- Encourage return business by offering a discount code when they subscribe to your company newsletter or blog.
2. Time and planning
Time is often an important factor in vacation plans. In most countries there is a limit to how much time off a full-time employee can get. Depending on the line of work, time off can be difficult to come by. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the average annual amount of vacation time is about 16 days. Many countries offer less and with that in mind, vacation days might be saved up for special occasions and holidays like Christmas.
There is also a lot of effort that goes into simply planning the trip. According to a Traveler Attribution Study conducted by Expedia Media Solutions, most travelers visit up to 38 websites before booking their accommodation, activities, and transportation. It's a big job to plan for two weeks away from the comforts and reliability of home. Shorter trips mean there is less to plan for.
How to benefit:
- Tour and activity providers can take advantage of this shorter travel window with user-friendly online booking solutions. The easier your website is to find and book with, the less work customers will have to put in.
- Since city breakers will be looking for things to do in the area, offline interactions will also be valuable. Make sure your POS system is up to date and ready to receive business from foot traffic.
- Work on your local partner network. Having a partnership with local accommodation providers and other tour and activity operators is a surefire way to get your company name out there.
Planning one big vacation each year can require trying to work around a few people, especially when it comes to couples or family vacations. While some might want to travel to the ocean and others to the mountains, the beauty of a short trip is that you can do both of those things at different times in the year.
Instead of being disappointed by missing out on the chance to see two very different climates, these mini-vacationers will plan trips to both at different times. Instead of two weeks in Maui for the summer, they might opt for five days of Malibu in August and four days of Aspen in February.
How to benefit:
- Market your tour well, highlighting all the things that make it authentic to the area, especially if it fits into a certain season such as skiing or snorkeling.
- Pay attention to the seasonal trends in your area. For example, if you operate in a warmer climate, you might notice more short-stay tourists coming in during the winter months.
Looking for other ways to benefit from city breaks and short stay travel? It starts with the right information.
Written by Sara Napier Burkhard
Sara is a writer from the American West Coast. In recent years, she's written for companies like Hipmunk, iTourMobile and Mylikes. She now resides in Zurich, Switzerland where she finds new adventures and attempts to speak German with minimal success.