The holidays are about visiting family and friends at home -- or are they? According to a national survey commissioned by Expedia.com(R), the world's leading online travel service, more than a third (36 percent) of U.S. adults say they'd rather relax at the beach, ski, or spend a night out on the town for a vacation during the holiday season instead of visiting the home of a friend or relative (51 percent). The reality is, however, that only 12 percent of respondents plan to actually take this kind of vacation during the upcoming holiday season and, instead, will choose to celebrate with friends and family (67 percent). In fact, 26 percent of adults say that the best gift they could receive this holiday season, when given a choice, would be having their family live closer.
"The results show a rather large discrepancy between how people would like to spend their holidays and how they actually plan to spend them," said Stuart MacDonald, senior vice president of marketing and packages at Expedia. "It seems that Americans are daydreaming of new places, activities, and traditions for the holiday season."
The results of the Expedia survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R), also suggest that region, age, and gender play a role in how people celebrate the holidays:
-- Are family values stronger on the East Coast versus West Coast? More Northeasterners (71 percent) than Westerners (59 percent) say they plan to celebrate by visiting family and friends for the holidays. -- Midwesterners dream of a sandy Christmas. More U.S. adults from this region (28 percent), than the nation as a whole, say relaxing on a beach is what they most want to do for a vacation during the holiday season. -- Even with a reputation for hospitality, Southerners are more likely, than the nation as a whole, to feel obligated to be the ones who travel to visit their out-of-town family during the December holidays (47 percent). -- Warm weather dreams. Men (26 percent) and women (32 percent) ages 45-54 want to relax on the beach over the holidays more than any other age group. -- Dutiful daughters over sons. More women than men (71 versus 63 percent) are most likely to vacation during the holidays by visiting family and friends.
Regardless of whether or not they plan to spend the holidays with relatives, Americans across the country seem to recognize that having family live nearby is a benefit, particularly around this time of year. According to the survey, respondents rated having relatives close by higher than having family members get along. This is especially the case for Westerners, where a third of respondents (31 percent) say the greatest gift would be having family live closer versus having everyone in their family get along (18 percent).
The season of giving, in spite of all its celebrations, can also bring with it an added element of stress. The survey showed that during the holiday season, what adults stress out about most is limited vacation time, family feuding, and lack of personal space, split evenly between all three at 16 percent. Men cite not having enough vacation time (18 percent) as their top stressor, while women say they are most anxious about the family getting along (20 percent) during the holiday season.
Everyone has a different approach on how to make the holidays special. With 61 percent of adults feeling most obligated to travel out of town for the holiday season*, there's no doubt that travel plays a big part in the experience. Whether you choose a traditional turkey dinner at grandma's house in Nebraska or want to sip a tropical drink in the Caribbean, Expedia can get you there. For last-minute deals, holiday travel promotions (save up to $200 off of travel on Jan. 1, 2005 through March 31, 2005 by booking a vacation package on Expedia before end of year**), travel ideas, and tips, visit www.expedia.com/deals.
And for those dreaming of an exciting new holiday getaway -- or even just a great vacation in the coming months -- check out these ideas:
-- Sand, surf and mistletoe. Take the family to the Caribbean for an all-inclusive holiday that includes all food, beverages, and activities designed to keep kids entertained and give parents down time. Beaches Negril Resort & Spa in Jamaica features 20 acres to play on, as well as a water park, Sesame Street characters on property, and a children's camp. Book a four-night stay there, including air from $1,187 per person. -- Winter wonderland on skis. Ski, snowboard, or snowshoe with the family this season by booking a ski vacation package. Create your ski getaway to Colorado, including air plus four nights at the Lodge and Spa at Breckenridge from $458 per person; add a three-day lift ticket and get your third day of skiing free. Or alternatively, head to the West Coast with heavenly deals like air plus three nights at the Lakeland Village Beach & Mountain resort from $269 per person; purchase a two-day Heavenly lift ticket and ski the second day for free. (For travel between Nov. 24 through Dec. 23, 2004.) For more ski trip information, visit www.expedia.com/ski. -- Light up the town. Live large in Vegas this holiday with a Venetian VIP Package, starting from $288 per person. Includes airfare to Las Vegas and a two-night stay at The Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino, plus a 15 percent discount off of spa treatments and a $25 slot credit. (For travel between Nov. 14 through Dec. 29, 2004.) About Expedia, Inc.
Expedia, Inc. is the world's leading online travel service and the fourth largest travel agency in the U.S. Expedia's award-winning Expert Searching and Pricing (ESP) technology delivers the most comprehensive flight options available online. ESP also allows customers to dynamically build complete trips that combine flights, Expedia(R) Special Rate hotels and other lodging, ground transportation, and destination services and activities. Expedia's quality and leadership have been recognized in awards, such as PC Magazine's "Editors' Choice" and Forbes' "Favorite General Travel Site." Expedia, Inc. is an operating company of IAC/InterActiveCorp
About Harris Interactive(R)
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), the 15th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis, and application. Known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material, and enduring results.
Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases, and technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris (www.novatris.com), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan, through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide (www.wirthlinworldwide.com), a Reston, Virginia-based research and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V.
Harris Interactive(R), via its QuickQuery(SM) online omnibus, conducted the survey on behalf of Expedia between November 4 and 8, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,916 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older. Of whom 1,329 were men, 1,587 were women and 674 were aged 45-54. The data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online.
In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Statistical precision varies for the smaller samples from plus or minus 3 to 4 percentage points. This online sample was not a probability sample.
NOTE: Expedia, Expedia.com, and the airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the United States, Canada and/or other countries.
* Holiday season refers to Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's.
** Happy Holidays Coupon Offer: Please visit www.expedia.com\holiday for full terms and conditions.
SOURCE: Expedia, Inc.
CONTACT: Alexa Waltz of Fleishman-Hillard, +1-415-318-4110, or
Web site: www.expedia.com