After a slow holiday season, Americans got back into the air during January, with domestic bookings up 68 percent and flight purchases to international destinations up 70 percent over December. January’s booking volumes for the leading ten destinations were also at least 26 percent higher than the monthly average flight purchases to those destinations since we began our analysis in May 2016. Read on for our full online travel findings.
January’s top 10 domestic destinations for increased booking activity
Every month, we analyze domestic and international flights purchased by US residents on Expedia, Orbitz and United Airlines to identify the top ten travel destinations by month-over-month changes in booking activity. This month, all the leading destinations saw impressive increases in flights booked over December which were also far above the monthly average since we began our analysis in May 2016. In fact, flight bookings to the top ten domestic destinations in January were up between 26 percent to triple the monthly average since last May.
Ski resorts continued to gain popularity in January. As in December, Bozeman, MT and Jackson Hole, WY saw increased activity, and Aspen, CO also saw large increases in flights purchased during January. Aspen saw the largest increase in flights booked in January, up 362 percent from December and nearly triple the monthly average since we began our analysis.
After two months of declines in flight purchases, a 300 percent MoM increase in bookings drove Santa Barbara, CA to second place on the top ten domestic list. Providence, RI came in third, on the strength of a 257 percent increase in flights purchased over December.
|2||Santa Barbara, CA||300%|
|9||New Orleans, LA||142%|
It’s worth mentioning that while New Orleans, LA ranked ninth in our list, January’s booking volumes were 74 percent higher than the monthly average since May 2016.
January’s top 10 international destinations for increased flight purchases
As on the domestic front, all the ten leading international destinations saw significant increases in booking activity in January, which also surpassed the monthly average since May 2016. As for the destinations that made January’s list, we found that eight out of the top ten destinations were European countries, with the other two driven into the list due to seasonality.
Croatia came in first with a 256 percent increase in flights purchased over December. While an impressive increase on its own, January’s flight purchase volumes for Croatia were also 76 percent higher than the monthly average since last May.
Greece claimed second place, posting a 233 percent MoM increase in flight purchases. However, January’s activity was 21 percent lower than the high season monthly average. Therefore, we can expect to see additional increases in purchases of flights to Greece as we get closer to the Summer high season.
Third place went to Peru following a 233 percent increase in flights purchased in January. Booking volumes were also 63 percent higher than the monthly average since we began our analysis. This is not that surprising given that the South American summer (January – March) is the best time to visit the Land of the Incas.
Dry season January is also prime time to visit Kenya, second only to the great wildlife migration that takes place between July and October. Flights purchased during January were triple those of December and more than double the monthly average since May 2016.
Bottom line: November and December were slower than people outside the travel industry might imagine, but January left no question that Americans enjoy and take advantage of air travel both domestically and around the world. January’s booking volumes are evidence of an uptake in flight purchases within the US, as booking volumes for most destinations exceeded the monthly average since we began our analysis. Which destinations will be among February’s lists? Come back next month and we’ll find out together.