This leads us to believe that although consumers may be concerned about rising costs, it has not eliminated their desire to travel
Buffalo, NY (PRWEB) May 17, 2008
Reservations for summer lodging at California's Yosemite National Park and seven other locations across North America at which global hospitality provider Delaware North Companies operates are up over last year despite higher gas prices.
In addition, the Delaware North-operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Fla., saw a 10 percent admissions increase during the first quarter of 2008.
"This leads us to believe that although consumers may be concerned about rising costs, it has not eliminated their desire to travel," said Kevin Kelly, president of the company's Parks & Resorts division. "We just aren't seeing any decrease."
A recent Travel Industry of America (TIA) survey supported this trend by revealing six of ten Americans who are currently planning a trip this summer will not change their plans. Moreover, when people were asked if they would cancel trips if gas prices continue to rise, they said they'd be more likely to shorten the distance of their trip or limit souvenir purchases than actually not travel this summer.
"What we're realizing is that travel is a necessary part of American life," said Kelly. "High gas prices may change the way people vacation and travel, but it's not going to stop it."
The division's central reservation center fields more than 600,000 calls a year from individuals interested in visiting or staying overnight at one of its eight destinations, including lodging at Yosemite and Sequoia national parks, Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa in British Columbia, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire, the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake in Ohio. Overall reservations for overnight accommodations are up 3.6 percent for 2008 over last year at this time, Kelly said.
Kelly acknowledges that rising gasoline prices, combined with increases in commodities and talk of an economic downturn, have gained the media spotlight for their potential effects on tourism this summer.
"But Delaware North, like many in the travel and tourism industry, continues to have high expectations for a season filled with tourists from both the United States and abroad," Kelly said.
Examples of how consumers are changing their travel behaviors include doing more research before traveling to a destination, traveling by car rather than air, taking advantage of unique destinations closer to home and spending less on items such as food and souvenirs along the way, Kelly said.
Another trend noted by Delaware North's reservation center is a shortening of the booking curve. This indicates travelers are making final plans even closer to their arrival dates as many consumers may be taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Call center representatives indicate that when consumers do call, it is obvious they have chosen their location carefully and done the research necessary to ensure they know what they will be spending and that everyone will have an enjoyable trip, Kelly said.
"That's a trend we are excited about because we operate at such special places. Consumers who do such lengthy research about their travel destinations are often better-informed about the location they are visiting and passionate about their experience," he said.
At the same time, the current state of the economy is driving more international tourism toward the United States and its historic parks and resort destinations. The Tourism Industry Association (TIA) estimates that more than $107.9 billion will be spent by international visitors in the United States this year.
"Even if a slight downturn in visitors from the United States does occur international travelers taking advantage of the low value of the dollar are making up for the difference," Kelly said.
Regardless of how the economy truly affects summer travel, Delaware North Parks & Resorts is prepared at its numerous operations around the country. The company is accustomed to enhancing guests' experiences regardless of where they come from, said Kelly.
"Whether we continue to see increased travel and people traveling closer to home or the industry changes and brings us completely different kinds of travelers, we take pride in enabling them to best experience these special places and destinations," Kelly said. "Telling the stories of these historic places and seeing to it guests get everything they hoped for from their vacation is what strikes to the core of our company."
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company's portfolio includes historic properties in North America, such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds; Tenaya Lodge; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; Jones Beach; Plaza del Pasado in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; The Balsams Grand Resort; and The Gideon Putnam Resort. To learn more about Delaware North Companies' expertise in the hospitality industry, visit http://www.dnchospitalitymgt.com.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world's leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, owner of TD Banknorth Garden. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit http://www.DelawareNorth.com.