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Trends People don’t book vacations on holidays, but holidays can tell you when they will.

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photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

A few weeks ago we recapped how marketing during the holidays can be feast or famine when it comes to open and click rates on resort email campaigns.

The piece we didn’t cover then was what happened to bookings during those same days and weeks.

Two Big Holidays

To find our answer, we averaged the last two years of booking volume by day across hundreds of our resort clients. Being resorts, these reservations can be assumed to be almost purely vacations (rather than work or other travel).

And before I go any further, I want to give a big shout out to our new Business Intelligence Product Manager, Michelle Cote, for gathering this dataset and teasing out these insights.

Thanksgiving (Week)

Thanksgiving can’t be considered without the shopping holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday that follow, so we’ll highlight all three. Note that because these holidays don’t fall on the same day of the month each year, we’ve aligned the data based on the holidays rather than the exact calendar date.

There are three things to note. The first is the day that saw the lowest booking volume – Thanksgiving. The second is the day with the most bookings – Cyber Monday. The third is the massive difference between the two, as Cyber Monday saw 4.5x as many bookings as Thanksgiving day.


Next let’s look at average booking volume by day for the weeks before and after Christmas.

Right off the bat, a similar takeaway appears – the lowest booking volume falls on Christmas day. The second lowest? New Year’s Eve. Take a look at Dec 26th, though, and you’ll see that booking volume didn’t just recover but actually peaked, even if the difference was much smaller than the spread between Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving.

Three Takeaways

Three potential opportunities stand out that marketers can take advantage of.

1) Cyber Monday
The first is probably the most obvious: people buy lots of stuff on Cyber Monday, including vacations. This is probably due in part to promotions, but also in part to mindset: one kind of shopping leading to another. Don’t miss this window of travelers being ready and willing to spend.

2) Holidays? No.
Next, people rarely book vacations on holidays. With all the other stuff they’re juggling – travel, shopping, cooking, etc. – that makes sense. Sometimes low numbers signal an opportunity, this is probably not one of those times. Just embrace it.

3) Immediately after holidays? Yes.
For whatever reason, the moment a holiday is over, vacation planning and booking quickly resume. Maybe there is simply less to compete with, maybe with the whole family together they make those final plans for next year’s trip, or maybe there is simply some pent up demand that gets released. Whatever the case, your guests aren’t waiting to resume booking, so you shouldn’t wait to resume marketing.

The bottom line: Holidays require a bit more thought and care around timing, but if you plan your campaigns around the days people are more likely to book, you can give those campaigns their greatest change of success.

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Tyler Maynard
SVP of Business Development
Ski / Golf / Destination Research
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Doug Kellogg
Director of Business Development
Hospitality / Attractions
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