Customers prioritize travel perks over price: Survey results from American Express

From Bucharest to Hilton Head, emerging travel hot spots are also revealed

TORONTO, May 13, 2014 /CNW/ - American Express, one of the world's largest travel networks, recently surveyed a group of its experts- nearly 300 travel counsellors from both Canada and the US, to get the scoop on what is trending with its customers for this upcoming summer season (travel between June 1 and August 31).

Among the experts surveyed, 45 per cent indicated that summer travel bookings are up when compared to 2013. A majority of respondents (67 per cent) also indicated travel costs are higher than last year, but when it comes to booking travel, customers prioritize perks over price. When asked about what is most important for travelers when booking trips, only 20 per cent named budget as their number one priority, with 36 per cent noting added-amenities and upgrades as most important and 26 per cent reporting destination as key this year.

"After the seemingly never-ending winter that we have experienced from coast to coast, it's no surprise that Canadians are geared up to travel this summer," says Gerald Parent, Director and General Manager, Canada Travel Servicing, American Express Canada. "What we're hearing from our travel counsellors and seeing in our online bookings is that Canadians are looking for something extra this year despite rising prices, and want to elevate their trip experience with upgrades and value-added amenities to international destinations."

On average, the survey finds this year's summer travelers are planning a vacation for 10 days, with a fairly even split on how travelers want to spend their time. Travel counsellors indicate that 43 per cent of those booking travel are seeking a relaxing experience, while another 34 per cent look to immerse themselves in the culture of the destination.

While the majority of travel counsellors (81 per cent) are planning vacations for clients and their immediate family, 35 per cent report curating trips for multi-generational families, while 29 per cent are planning experiences for groups of friends traveling together.

Trending Destinations:
When looking at where its customers are going this summer, American Express revealed most continue to flock toward popular destinations, such as 'The Big Apple' and 'City of Lights'. Others among the top ten include:

  • London, England
  • Paris, France
  • Rome, Italy
  • Orlando, Florida
  • New York, New York
  • Kahului, Hawaii
  • San Francisco, California
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Honolulu, Hawaii

Emerging Hot Spots:
While cities like Orlando and San Francisco will never go out of style, American Express looked at the top emerging destinations which revealed a bit of an adventurous streak amongst this year's jetsetters. From a top sporting destination to national parks to an island retreat, the top emerging summer destinations for 2014 include:

  • Brazil
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Milan, Italy
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Sitka, Alaska
  • Mykonos, Greek Islands
  • Lima, Peru

Canadian travel bloggers Deb Corbeil and Dave Bouskill from The Planet D say that they always look to visit new destinations that are off the beaten path to share their experiences with readers. "We're not surprised that Canadians are looking for destinations such as Sitka and Bucharest to travel to," says Dave. "It shows Canadians want a vacation in the traditional sense, but also to go off the beaten path and immerse themselves in different cultures."

To learn more about American Express and its travel services, visit

About American Express Canada
American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Gold Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast. For more information, visit or connect with us at

About the American Express Travel Survey Methodology
The American Express survey was completed online with its Canada and U.S. travel counsellors, including those from its U.S. Representative Agency Network - a total of 331 participated in the survey. The survey was conducted by Ebiquity between March 19 and 28, 2014. The results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 5.9 (U.S.) and +/- 13.2 (Canada) percent level of confidence.

About Ebiquity Plc
Ebiquity ( is a global media, marketing, and reputation consultancy. Ebiquity are leaders in above- and below-line communications tracking and research, providing independent data-driven insights to marketing, corporate communications, and public relations professionals to continuously improve their clients' business performance. Ebiquity's Reputation & PR practice, formerly Echo Research, has a 25-year track record in marketing and communications research, providing high- quality research, maintaining strict control of the research process, creating tailored research reports, utilizing proprietary approaches and tools, and enjoying longevity of relationships with clients.

SOURCE: American Express

For further information:

Amanda Betti
American Express Canada
(905) 474-7903

Emma Greasley
High Road Communications
(416) 644-2297

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