What kind of travel are consumers looking for right now?
That question probably has as many answers as there are consumers looking to take a vacation, but for Liberty Travel in Montvale, N.J., fun-and-sun destinations are still one of the most popular offerings. Liberty's group business is also doing well.
I caught up with Christina Pedroni, senior vice president of Liberty, last week as the agency was coming off a Black Friday advertising campaign that ran for about three weeks.
"The top three destinations were Jamaica, Mexico and then the Dominican Republic," Pedroni said. "They are our core Liberty markets. They were pre-Covid, and they remain."
Christina Pedroni, Liberty Travel
The booking window for those trips ranges from about 60 days out to six months out, according to Pedroni. Trips resulting from the Black Friday campaign were mostly booked for March, May and July.
"We are seeing a pretty big spread in that booking window," she said.
Group trips have also been a highlight for Liberty of late. In fact, group bookings are exceeding 2019 bookings, when it was already a fast-growing window.
"There were a lot of, unfortunately, groups that either traveled yearly or every other year, or weddings in particular that were canceled through the pandemic," Pedroni said. "Many of them have rebooked and now have traveled or are getting ready to travel."
It speaks to the allure of getting together with friends and family, especially after prolonged time apart, Pedroni said. That, combined with cancellations, is driving the demand in that space.
But, overall, the Caribbean and Mexico continue to lead the pack in terms of popularity.
"I think that has something to do with the entry requirements, and the hotel partners that are in those destinations have done a fantastic job with safety and health protocols and the testing on-site at the hotels to return back to the U.S.," she said. "Our consultants can sell it with confidence, and the customers, they feel like this is a great place to go and now's a good time to go. 'I just want that escape to the Caribbean and Mexico.'"
Liberty's clients aren't alone in looking for fun-and-sun destinations. Recent Expedia research found that travelers' top international searches were for Mexico's Riviera Maya.