An SDSU hospitality and tourism expert talks about summer travel in the current economy.
Lazy vacation days on the beach are still within reach, according to Carl Winston.
Summer is almost officially upon us, signaling an increase in beach days, barbeques and vacations. However, with the current state of the economy and people’s desire to save money, many think they need to eliminate travel from their summer plans.
According to Carl Winston, director of SDSU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, that does not have to be the case.
Bargain hunter’s paradise
“Travel will be down significantly this summer since tourism tends to track with the economy,” says Winston, “but right now it’s a bargain hunter’s paradise.”
Winston adds that due to the negative impact the recession has had on the hospitality and tourism industry, it is possible to find great travel deals.
“The current negative sentiment about meetings and conventions means that hotels and places like Disneyland and Las Vegas are hurting. So now they are offering a lot to tourists.”
Close to home
Although there are plenty of bargains available, people are still hesitant to buy. For those who do not want to splurge on a big vacation, there are other options, such as traveling closer to home or shortening the length of a trip.
“Staycations” are also still popular as some people choose to find closer, cheaper travel options in their own backyard. Parents, for instance, may be inclined to take their children to the San Diego County Fair rather than making the more expensive trek to Disneyland.
Summer of opportunity
As businesses continue to suffer from the economy, more bargains will pop up, making this the “summer of opportunity,” according to Winston. He suggests searching online and exploring staycation opportunities for ways to find bargains.
Winston also recommends looking into package deals, such as those available through Southwest Airlines. These allow consumers to get a great deal on airfare, hotels and attractions, while businesses still maintain their pricing integrity.
Timing is everything
Now that the perfect summer vacation is still within reach, many wonder when the best time to book is. Since people have been trained to wait until the last minute in order to get the best prices, many hotels and businesses will also wait until the last minute to drop their prices.
“Last-minute booking is the norm,” says Winston. “In some cases you may pay more to book in advance, but that’s the way the trend is going.”