Bright spots in down markets: Top 10 domestic and international travel destinations in February
Following the usual post-holiday travel surge, February saw Americans decrease domestic and international flight purchases by double-digits. Bookings to destinations within the US were down 14 percent from January and international flight purchases were down 13 percent month-over-month. However, while both domestic and international travel saw MoM decreases in flight bookings, all of the top ten international destinations for MoM changes saw increased flight purchases over January. Read on for our full online travel findings.
Top 10 domestic destinations for flight purchases in February
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 MoM changes in flight purchases. This month, half of the top ten domestic destinations saw increased flight purchases MoM, while the other half saw decreased activity. Four of the five top domestic destinations with increased bookings MoM are located in northern states, with McAllen TX the only exclusion. Three of the five top domestic destinations with decreased bookings during February are located near ski resorts, each of which saw impressive increases in flights purchased every month since December 2016.
Since December, winter sports fans purchasing flights to three ski resorts — Aspen, CO, Bozeman, MT and Jackson Hole, WY — drove impressive MoM increases in flights booked to these destinations. That stopped in February, with the three losing an average of half their combined flights purchased since January.
Only two destinations carried over from January’s top ten list: Aspen, CO and Bozeman, MT. January’s leader for MoM increases in flights purchased, Aspen, CO, saw a 47 percent decrease in flights booked during February. However, February’s booking volumes were still 58 percent higher than the average monthly bookings since we began our analysis in May 2016. Bozeman, MT saw a whopping 145 percent increase in flight purchased in January. However, flight purchases dropped by 51 percent in February, with booking volumes also 7 percent lower than the average monthly booking volumes since last May.
McAllen, TX claimed first place for MoM changes in flight purchases, with booking volumes in February more than double those of January and 54 percent above the average monthly bookings since May 2016. The Texas city is located on the Rio Grande across from the Mexican city of Reynosa, which might suggest the reasons behind the increase in domestic travel to that destination since January. However, McAllen officials emphasize that the city is not a sanctuary city.
Syracuse, NY claimed second place with a 72 percent increase in flights purchased over January and a 13 percent increase over the average since last May. Anchorage, AK came in third with a 67 percent MoM increase in flight purchases during February. February’s booking volume was also 22 percent higher than the average monthly since May 2016.
Fourth-ranked Rapid City, SD debuted on our list in February following a 67 percent increase in flights purchased over January and a whopping 134 percent increase over the monthly average booking volumes since May 2016.
|4||Rapid City, SD||67%|
|5||Long Beach, CA||-60%|
|7||Jackson Hole, WY||-50%|
Top 10 international destination for MoM changes in flight bookings
February brought an entirely new list of top ten international destinations, all of which saw increased flight purchases over January. The resulting top ten international list is quite diverse, including countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Cambodia claimed first place with the largest MoM increase in flights purchased, up 133 percent over January. February’s booking volumes to Cambodia were also 83 percent higher than the monthly average since we began our analysis. Turkey came in second with a 112 percent increase in flight purchases in February. However, flights purchased to Turkey during February were still 7 percent lower than the monthly averages since May 2016. A 75 percent increase in flight purchases drove Puerto Rico onto our list for the first time, claiming third place in February.
Notable mention goes out to China, which also debuted on our list in February, following a 24 percent increase in bookings over January.
Bottom line: While overall flight purchases, both domestically and internationally, were down in February, some destinations performed quite well. China and Puerto Rico debuted on our top ten international list, while McAllen, TX and Rapid City, SD showed good gains, with Rapid City earning its way onto the domestic top ten for the first time. What cities and countries will reign supreme in March? Join us next month to find out.