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86% of U.S. consumers plan to travel this summer (Yahoo!). Here’s a look at their habits and preferences: Warm weather is finally here, and consumers are already starting to book their summer trips. Savvy marketers are fine-tuning their summer display, mobile, and search travel campaigns now, and with good reason. Buoyed by a rising economy, spending on summer travel is forecast to increase this year, according to a recent survey of U.S. consumers by TripAdvisor:

  • 86% plan to travel this summer, a 7% increase from last year
  • 25% expect to spend more than they did last year; 53% will spend the same
  • 71% would book a trip on the spur of the moment if they see a last-minute deal

Here are some insights into the spending habits of this year’s summer travelers, and how they’re using multiple screens to plan and book their vacations.

Two-thirds of summer travellers will fly and stay in hotels

Most Americans (64%) say they’ll take to the sky for their summer vacations. Forecasts by Airlines for America say that U.S. airlines will transport 209 million travelers globally between June and August. That’s just a 1% increase over last summer, but it’s the highest volume of summer travelers in five years. The busiest travel days are expected to be Thursdays and Fridays between the middle of June and the first week of August.

Where will our summer travelers be heading? Here are the top five most popular types of destinations this year, according to the TripAdvisor survey:

  • 51% said beaches
  • 50% said cities
  • 29% said countryside
  • 23% said national parks
  • 17% said lakes

The most popular cities, in order of preference, are:

  • New York
  • Boston
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Las Vegas
  • Chicago

When they get to their destinations, 70% of travelers will stay in hotels this year. The average traveler will book just over seven nights and spend $1,134. A total of $84 billion is projected to be spent on hotel accommodations this summer, according to data from Room Key.

Consumers use multiple screens to research and book trips

Travelers are using multiple screens to complete their travel arrangements, but not completely by choice. Tablet and smartphone owners want to use their devices to plan and book their trips, but slow and poorly designed mobile apps and sites force many of them to use PCs and laptops to complete their travel arrangements, according to a study by Mobiquity titled "The Connected Traveler: Mobile Satisfaction Report."

Among tablet users, the study found that:

  • 54% use their tablets to research travel, but use a desktop or PC to book
  • 26% use their tablets to book trips on mobile sites
  • 16% use their tablets to book via mobile apps

Among smartphone users:

  • 62% use their mobile devices for research only
  • 8% book trips via mobile sites
  • 9% book using smartphone apps

With the increasing use of mobile in planning and booking summer travel, brands should make sure their mobile sites are optimized, functional and quick-loading: 35% of respondents said they would be less likely to book with a brand after having a bad mobile experience. Sites that don’t provide mobile-friendly experiences to travel consumers risk missing out on a slice of the $25 billion in mobile travel bookings projected for 2014, the study said.

Social is also playing a growing role in travel planning. According to NewMedia Trend Watch, Facebook is the traveler’s social network of choice, with 29% using this platform for vacation inspiration, ahead of TripAdvisor (14%), Twitter (6%) and Pinterest (4%).

Travel marketers can use these insights to make sure their campaigns will reach consumers where they’re actually spending their time while planning and booking vacations. For example, make sure you’re present on tablets and smartphones to reach travelers in the research stage. If you want help fine-tuning or developing your travel campaigns, contact your Account Manager.

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