Sunny forecast for summer travel season: Best Western Leisure Travel Summit
Dorothy Dowling, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Best Western International, hosted Brian Payea, Head of Industry Relations, TripAdvisor (second from left) and Brenda Kyllo, VP, Travel, CAA (right) at the annual Best Western Leisure Travel Summit in Toronto this week. Bryson Forbes (second from right) served as moderator.

Sunny forecast for summer travel season: Best Western Leisure Travel Summit

TORONTO — The forecast for the summer travel season is looking good with 42% of Canadian travellers on TripAdvisor saying they plan to spend more on their vacation in 2015 versus 2014.

The average uptick in the vacation budget is 4%, said Brian Payea, Head of Industry Relations for TripAdvisor. “And 50% said that budget increase is because they’re looking to take a ‘trip of a lifetime’,” said Payea.

The annual Best Western Leisure Travel Summit included input from Payea as well as Brenda Kyllo, Vice-President, Travel, CAA, and Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Marketing for Best Western International.

Kyllo said the wealth of ‘Canadian Resident’ promotions on the market should ease the sting of the U.S.-Canadian dollar exchange rate. “If you’d asked me six weeks ago I might have expressed a bit of concern because of sticker shock with the Canadian dollar, but that seems to have dissipated,” she said, adding that interest in Europe is high “because the Canadian dollar is doing pretty good against the euro.”

Dowling said Best Western is seeing double-digit growth expectations again this summer, across both the Canadian and U.S. markets.

More consumers are extending the planning process for their getaways “so that people are always planning their vacations. We’re seeing more of an ongoing process when it comes to planning,” said Payea.

And more travellers are coming back to travel agents. “Travel agents, travel counsellors, whatever we call ourselves. I like ‘qualify of life enhancers’,” said Kyllo. “Planning a trip involves a lot of work and especially with more multigenerational travel, you have people coming in from across the country and you have to take into account a lot of people’s interests. It can be stressful for people. We as travel agents take away an extra level of stress.”

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