According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, 34 percent of respondents said they’ll spend more on travel this autumn than in 2011, and 61 percent said they have more than one trip planned.
With that in mind, you might want to take the pulse of fall tourism in your area, with an eye on what area hospitality and vacation venues are doing to extend the leisure travel season past Labor Day and how workers are affected. With federal holidays (Columbus Day and Veterans Day) creating long weekends for many workers in the next couple of months, plus Thanksgiving, resorts and attractions may be offering incentives like room upgrades, dining credits and other perks to keep momentum going between now and the busy holiday travel period.
I’ve noticed reports lately that some markets, like Aspen , are reporting an uptick in hospitality industry jobs. Food service and related jobs were also strong on the recent Employment Situation report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which some analysts hailed as a mixed blessing because hospitality jobs tend to be lower-wage — adding to a trend in post-recession job growth. You can do a ZIP code search of sites like CareerBuilder to find out who’s hiring in your area.
Here are some niches you can focus on depending on your area’s offerings and trends:
Fall foliage tours (also known, rather cloyingly, as leaf-peeping excursions) are popular in many locales; here’s a report from Maine’s Kennebec Journal quoting area businesses that depend on the influx of nature appreciators. And here’s an interesting take from NorthJersey.com on the effect of climate change on the fall leaf-peeping industry; you might want to inquire of local venues and agriculture experts if any shifts are taking place in your region.
Football tourism appears to be gaining and host cities of college and pro teams may be trying to cash in on visiting fans; check out this recent TuscaloosaNews.com report detailing how the city is trying to keep visitors engaged before and after game time. On the flip side of the coin, spas and other attractions often offer “football widow” or girls-weekend packages this time of year.
Warm-climate beach vacations and camping outings were also well-represented in the TripAdvisor survey. You might also get a head start on hunting tourism, which will be upon us soon. And check with casino resorst and with area theme parks, which may be holding evening specials or gearing up for harvest/Halloween events to stretch their appeal through cooler weather.
State and local cooperation. What are convention and visitors bureaus doing to help resorts and small businesses with autumn travel campaigns? (And how do those campaigns ripple out to create jobs for marketing and production firms?)
Or for a contrarian view, peruse this recent survey on travel taxes by the Global Business Travel Association; it ranks 50 U.S. cities on their hotel and related tax burdens.
Personal finance. In addition to thinner crowds, many travelers find the tab lighter when traveling off-season. Hertz is offering Gold Members a three-times points promotion for rentals between now and Dec. 15, for example. What values and deals can you pinpoint by regional companies?
Here’s the U.S. Census 2012 statistical abstract entries on the hospitality business.