Summer Travel Blues…And Deals.

To most Americans, a summer getaway is a crucial component of the life-work compact: they trade 50 weeks of cubicle-bound servitude for two weeks of sun-dappled bliss, and it seems worth it (well, almost).

But halfway through the 2008 season, vacationers (and would-be vacationers) are being squeezed by a confluence of dismal economic realities: fuel prices that have nearly doubled since the start of last year; airlines that have jacked up fares 17 percent since the start of the year; a dollar that stands like a pygmy alongside foreign currencies. >>Full Story

Thoughts// This Tribune story is yet another article about the dismal travel outlook this season. According to research (validated by research from our friends at Destination Analysts), travelers are taking fewer tips or staying home altogether. Even the wealthy are not immune from the situation and are increasingly going online to scrutinizing prices closely. Of course this article is typical of the current media environment and focuses mostly on the negative side of the story. On the flip side, consumers still view the “summer vacation” as a quintessential part of their life and are generally “trading down, not out” according to Peter Yesawich of Y Partnership and other research sources.

Not surprisingly, many DMO’s and state tourism agencies are taking advantage of budget conscious consumers shopping online (over 70% in June according to eMarketer – see below) and are offering “summer deals” for travelers. Here’s a sampling:

  • Hawaii: The aloha state launched a “limited” $3 million TV, radio, print and online campaign to stimulate summer tourism;

  • Oregon: We relaunched our 365 campaign in regional portal and lifestyle sites; while 365 has been primarily a branding initiative in the past, this time we evolved the campaign to feature special summer deals fromour partners;

Do you have an interesting story to share about how your organization is using the web to offer value packages to spark travel close to home this summer? Share your story and tell us.

(PS: What’s with all the Michigan votes on the poll! I say re-count!)

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.