Expedia: Travel to U.S. National Parks Booming

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Expedia: Travel to U.S. National Parks Booming
Yellowstone National Park

BELLEVUE, WASH.—As the average person checks their phone 110 times per day, it’s no surprise that there’s a need to recharge and go off the grid, and a likely reason why wellness tourism is on the rise. Combined with people’s increased awareness of the growing threats to our natural resources and interest in eco-friendly experiences, traveling to America’s great national parks has never been more appealing.

Based on recent Expedia Group data, travel to America’s national parks is booming, indicating the various opportunities for hoteliers to capitalize on the interest in key national park markets, including Moab, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Zion National Park. The data revealed:

  • Aside from Zion, where stays are evenly spread throughout the year, most room nights spent at each of the markets occur in the spring and summer seasons (March to September), indicating a spike in demand during periods with ideal weather for outdoor activities;
  • Moab, Yosemite and Yellowstone have seen tremendous positive YoY growth in package demand (nearly 110 percent, 70 percent and 45 percent YoY growth, respectively);
  • Packages that include lodging, air and car have a strong share of demand in each of the markets (nearly 60 percent share in Moab and Yellowstone, 50 percent share in Zion and 40 percent share in Yosemite);
  • Overall growth in demand to each of the markets continues to be strong (nearly 780 percent YoY growth in Moab, 660 percent YoY growth in Yellowstone, 245 percent YoY growth in Zion and 280 percent YoY growth in Yosemite), with international travelers driving nearly 80 percent of overall demand.

With consumers looking to invest more in memorable experiences, whether with the goal of going off the grid, looking for adventure, or partaking in eco-travel, how can hotels tap into these trends and capture travelers?

  • Don’t be late: On average, packages have a booking window of one month. In addition to longer booking windows, package promotions can see higher demand from international travelers and larger parties. Offer your inventory as far in advance as possible to lock in higher rates and longer lengths of stay.
  • Be extra: Travelers will want to get the most of their time at the parks, so offering early check-in, late checkout or complimentary breakfast can go a long way.
  • Put it in park: With travelers increasingly booking car rentals as part of their packages, offering discounted or free parking can help your property stand out among other hotels in the market.
  • Go green: It’s no secret that eco-travel is not just a fleeting trend but has become an entire movement as sustainability becomes more top of mind for consumers. Offering sustainable features (i.e. water-saving fixtures, linen and towel reuse, green cleaning products, etc.) has been proven to draw in high participation rates among guests, as well increase guest satisfaction.
  • Be the local expert: Leverage the local expertise of your front desk staff to encourage travelers to take guided tours of your park or explore other nearby activities. Showcase your unique experience and differentiate your property to give travelers confidence your property is the best choice for their trip.
  • Leverage insights: Data doesn’t lie and can provide you with invaluable insights into seasonal trends, customer buying habits and more. Tap into available data analytics tools and resources to ensure maximum performance throughout the year.