It’s that time of year again. No, we’re not talking about the return of eggnog lattes or Dolly Parton Christmas specials, per se, though in their own right, certainly have a place during the holidays. More relevant for our discussion, we’re talking about the return of holiday travel.
For the 2015 holiday season, we surveyed thousands of people from around Europe and the USA about their holiday sentiment and customs. And needless to say, the results were nothing short of fascinating. For example, nearly 15 percent of the people we surveyed claim that relatives have overstayed their welcome for the holidays as soon as they arrive. That means that for many people, the cards are stacked against granny before she even arrives.
However, the data doesn’t lie. The fact is that for most people worldwide, Christmas is an important time of year for family. Globally, 4 in 5 people said that it is “very or extremely important” to spend Christmas with family, with 82 percent preferring to spend Christmas with family. Now that’s the Christmas spirit! Furthermore, most people stay at home to spend the holidays. Home is where the heart is after all, right?
But that doesn’t mean that Americans and Europeans can’t be persuaded to travel for the holidays, especially when it means vacation. Generally speaking, 9 out of 10 people we surveyed indicated that they wouldn’t rule out a Christmas vacation.
However, there are challenges with vacationing during the holidays. Namely, the cost of it. It’s no surprise that Christmas is among the most expensive times of year to travel. This was further validated in our survey, with 1 in 3 citing the high cost of travel and accommodation as keeping them from doing what they want on the holidays. 1 in 4 cite tradition as keeping them from doing what they want, while nearly 20 percent chalk it up to insufficient space.
But what are challenges for many people to vacation for the holidays are the very solutions that HomeAway offers. The cost savings alone make a vacation rental worthwhile. For example, the cost of a standard hotel room around the holidays equals the cost a two- to three-bedroom vacation rental (averaging only $220/night). That immediately addresses another problem, and that’s the problem of space.
A vacation rental affords additional space and amenities that cater toward holiday travelers, such as large common areas to put up Christmas tree and stockings, and fully stocked kitchens to bake your mom’s famous ham. Our holiday survey further affirmed this upward trend toward vacation rentals, as half (48 percent) of those who will be staying in a vacation rental choose to do so because they want their own space. That is great news for the 51 percent of survey respondents who have slept on the couch or floor over previous holidays!
We’d be remiss, however, to have all this talk about families and the holidays and not mention the kids. While the Christmas holidays are often stressful for adults, they seem to be equally stressful for kids as our survey found out. But it’s not so much travel- or family-related stress as it is stress about receiving their gifts. 64 percent of parents of children who still believe in Santa agree that their kids’ worry that Santa might get lost while delivering gifts. That concern can be further exacerbated for those children staying in vacation rentals.
But HomeAway has a solution. It only seemed natural to address children’s concerns by creating RerouteSanta.com, which helps children and parents inform Santa of their location this Christmas.
On confirming their whereabouts on RerouteSanta.com, children will receive a personalized letter Santa’s team, which they can then save or share with family and friends.
The Christmas holidays just got a lot less stressful for both parents and children.