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U.S. Travel Trend: Easy Road Trips within 100 Miles
Bed & breakfasts expect more guests as result of domestic travel trends
AAA spokesman Justin McNaull says innkeepers might be onto something, as "U.S. travelers are increasingly setting out on 100-200 mile drives."
Sea Crest by the Sea of Spring Lake, New Jersey innkeeper Barbara Vogel reports that 95 percent of their guests come from within 200 miles and at least 90 percent come from within 100 miles. "Since 9/11 we have seen a trend toward smaller vacations taken closer to home, says Vogel." She doesn't feel this is a financial decision as their most expensive rooms still book first, but more of a security issue. "Our guests have shared that they are quite uneasy about being far from home."
Danielle Hanscom, innkeeper of the Brampton Inn in Maryland, notes that more than 80 percent of her guests come from within an hour and a half and are staying longer than usual. "Lately we've seen guests stay 3 to 5 days instead of 2 to 3, as many did in the past," says Hanscom.
Deborah Sakach, president and founder of American Historic Inns, Inc., predicts that if travelers continue with their current habits, the bed and breakfast industry will increasingly become a favorite mode of lodging. "In today's busy and uncertain world people seem to desire connectedness and an authentic travel experience," says Sakach. "Today's innkeepers are going out of their way to understand the needs and wants of travelers."
Travelers find that innkeepers save them time and stress by arranging activity-rich vacations packages, ranging from fall biking tours to wine-tasting extravaganzas to antiquing hunts within quaint villages. "Innkeepers work hard to maximize and individualize the travel experience for their guests so that every activity, meal and experience gives the most value," says Sakach.
On the West Coast, the Candlelight Inn of Napa Valley has been noted as an industry innovator. They are known for offering full-fledged concierge services, supplying around-the-clock gourmet treats and wine from top wineries in the area. "Mark (Candlelight Inn innkeeper) created a wine-tasting itinerary for our group, calling ahead to wineries letting them know that we were coming. We had the time of our lives," said visitor Virginia Enriquez.
"Innkeepers know they have to build great value into their guests' stays, because of this they know their guests will return again and again,"; says Sakach. "The industry has so many wonderful, passionate innkeepers...they make the difference. Adventure really begins just miles away from home, and innkeepers are ready to point the way."