While January-February is low season for tourism in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s all hands on deck at HomeExchange.
The first two months of 2016 saw a 60% increase in traffic on HomeExchange.com compared to December 2015. That’s when savvy travelers know the early birds have the best chance of securing their dream summer holidays on HomeExchange, especially when there are specific dates and destinations in mind.
The data from this period of intense activity tells us a lot about tourism for the year to come. For instance, the following list lays out the 20 most sought-after countries for the summer of 2016:
1. USA (with high demand for New York, Florida, Hawaii and California)
Some countries saw significant growth in popularity. Since January 1, Greece, appearing for the first time in the top 20, has experienced a 50% increase in search over October/November 2015. Ireland, already a destination in high demand, registered an increase of 21%. Spain too confirmed its popularity as a European destination with a 10% increase since the beginning of 2016.
Meanwhile, Iceland, which joined the top 20 in 2015, is now the destination with the 13th highest demand. As the number 1 country on HomeExchange in terms of number of listings per capita, Iceland has a bright future for local members who want to see the world.
The cities with the strongest appeal for the summer of 2016 are in keeping with results seen all year round. New York, London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and San Francisco run the show. Other cities, however, are gaining popularity, such as Stockholm, Vancouver, Dublin, Berlin and Los Angeles.
Looking beyond preferred destinations, a recent internal survey revealed that a significant number of exchanges facilitated by HomeExchange involves one party receiving an unexpected inquiry from (and agreeing to visit) a place that had not been on a wish list. These surprise suggestions are great opportunities to discover parts of the planet not previously on a traveler’s radar, some of them geographically very near to resort areas in high demand but nevertheless a world apart. Such fortuitous invitations can trigger changes in travel plans and even result in multi-destination stays.
“This summer we will spend half the time in a house on a fjord in Norway,” enthused Anita and Randy from South Beach, California (#52941). “The other half will be spent in Prague and Slovakia. Without home exchange none of these things would have ever even remotely been possible for us.”
“This is one of the fundamental differences between home exchange and other travel options,” points out Jim Pickell, President of HomeExchange. “Everyone wants to visit New York, Paris and South California beaches. But getting invitations to places that are equally desirable, but often less crowded with tourists — places where locals like to stay makes the experience totally unique”.