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Are last-minute holidays the new normal?

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It’s a wholly different travel planning landscape

In a recent poll, 61% of people planning a holiday had not booked their summer trips by mid-May. The statistic comes from the US, but could be true also in Europe.

Travel professionals say that what began as a habit during the 2008 recession may have become the new standard practice, Casey Kelly Barton at The Motley Fool investor website says.

The Airfarewatchdog poll pooled 13,000 responses. The conclusion seems to be that last-minute planning – despite the potential for higher rates and fewer choices – is an ongoing booking trend.

“Planning closer to the date got popular after the 2008 economy downturn,” says Eric Hrubant, president of CIRE Travel, based in New York. “Prior to that, most people planned their vacations three to nine months in advance. I think that most people were hesitant to book leisure travel too far in advance in the event they got laid off.”

Tour guide trainer Cherie Anderson: “This is typical behaviour when the economy is ‘iffy’. People book at the last minute because they aren’t sure what’s going to happen. It may be money they’ll need if the economy doesn’t recover.”

Business travel and MICE planning have a shorter lead time too, often with a couple months or even a couple weeks’ notice.

Basically, consumers and businesses are far more cautious. The wait-and-see mindset continues to dominate. The habit seems to have stuck.

The Motley Fool

[Cartoon by Body and Soul International – www.bodyandsoulinternational.com]

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