Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014's most popular travel destinations

With only three weeks left in 2014, the people at accommodation search engine AllTheRooms.com have compiled a list of the most popular travel destinations as determined by those who have used their website during the past year.

The list includes many cities that have long been popular as well as some surprises. New York, San Diego and Las Vegas are the top three domestic travel destinations, with London, Paris and Barcelona topping the list of the most searched international destinations.

“"While [those] destinations maintained their heavy weight titles … several new contenders made their way into the top ranking,” Joseph DiTomaso, co-founder and CEO of AllTheRooms told TheTravelPro in an email. Surprise appearances included Playa Del Carmen and Oslo, Norway.

Leisure destinations mixed heavily into the results, with top vacation spots like Orlando and Las Vegas surging in recent months to overtake San Francisco and Chicago. Here is AllTheRooms’ list of top U.S. destinations.

New York City

The Big Apple reigned supreme with a third more searches than the second-place finisher. There were strong results every month of the year, but were particularly strong in early February when the Super Bowl played in nearby New Jersey.

San Diego

While a distant 12th on the list in 2013, San Diego gained serious ground during the peak summer months on 2014. There was a large spike in searches immediately preceding the Comic-Con International Convention in July, boosting San Diego to second place.

Las Vegas

Ever-popular Sin City dropped from #2 on the 2013 list, but with nonstop nightlife and entertainment remains in the top five. Traffic was especially heavy before the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January and the Las Vegas Marathon in November.

Orlando

As the top family destination in the country, Orlando is home to Disney World, Epcot Center, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and much more. The peak times for searches were for stays around spring break in March and April, as well as during the holiday season.

Austin

Due to the popularity of South by Southwest in March and Austin City Limits Music Festival in October, Austin made its debut in the top five most popular destinations.

View from Top of the Mark
San Francisco

The City by the Bay saw the most searches by far in July and August, but there was a spike in visits around the World Series in October and for last-minute bookings before the Bay to Breakers Race in May and Gay Pride Parade in June.

New Orleans

Home to Bourbon Street, gumbo and great music, The Big Easy is
always a premier draw no matter what time of year. However, there was an obvious demand for stays from February through May for Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, the company said.

Chicago

Chicago, the most popular city in the Midwest, saw a great deal of interest in stays during summer. While sometimes hot and sticky, the weather is often pleasant. Events like Lollapalooza and the Chicago Blues Festival add to its appeal.

Miami's Art Deco district at night
Miami Beach

While the Atlantic hurricane season, which is at its peak from July through September, understandably can dampen tourism to this Florida destination (pun intended), there was a consistent level of search activity throughout 2014. The highest level of interest came in later March, coinciding with the Ultra Music Festival that took over the city.

Boston

New England's favorite city fared well as a destination throughout the entire year, with an obvious uptick during the spring and summer. There was additional interest in stays for the Boston Marathon and around the time the area’s colleges hold their graduation ceremonies.

While not breaking into the Top 10, Lahaina/Kapalua beat Honolulu for the top Hawaii destination for the second year in a row, according to the company.

International hot-spots

More than half of AllTheRooms’ users are international, with a strong presence in Europe, South America and Asia, the company noted.

"The breadth and diversity of our product, combined with our global reach, allows us to provide travelers with a unique and complete view of the global accommodation market,” DiTomaso explained. Here are AllTheRooms’ top international destinations for 2014:

London

Barely edging Paris out of the top spot it held in 2013, London was the top international destination in 2014. April demand rose dramatically, which corresponded with the London Marathon, BNY Mellon Boat Race and St. George's Day events.

La Tour Eiffel
Paris

Generally regarded as the most visited city in the world, and there isn't a bad time to visit Paris. While July saw the most searches by month, there was a significant number of searches surrounding October's Montmartre Wine Harvest and June's French Open.

Barcelona

Spain's most popular city is a year-round tourist attraction. Las Ramblas, a popular tourist street in central Barcelona, was packed with tourists throughout August due to Europe's holiday season, but there were also spikes before Easter and during October's Barcelona Jazz Festival.

Berlin

Berlin has become quite a popular city and rose to the top five in 2014. During the peak summer when the continent takes its vacation to the winter months when business thrives, Germany's capital is a strong destination regardless of the season.

Rome

Summers are very popular for Italy's biggest city, when it is the sunniest as well as the most expensive. From October through the end of the year, the city had a significant drop in visits, making it a favorable time to visit while avoiding the peak-season crowds.

Sydney

While 2014 saw a great deal of searching across Australia, the majority of searches were for accommodations near the famous Sydney Opera House. From its beaches to beautiful views from the harbor, last summer was a perfect time to visit, the company said.

Dublin

The weather in Ireland is consistently on the chilly side, but summer is when the crowds come with the hopes of finding a day they won't need to carry sweaters. The city also saw a major increase in tourism around St. Patrick's Day and the Dublin Fringe Festival, propelling it to its first appearance on the Top 10 list.

Playa Del Carmen

One of the most popular skin diving and scuba diving destinations on earth, this resort town offers beautiful beaches, an active nightlife, and a more relaxed vibe than neighboring Cancun. This Mexico destination has been growing in popularity over the last few years and this year overtook Puerto Vallarta, which was the most popular Mexico destination in 2013.

Northern Lights
Photo courtesy NordicVisitor.com
Oslo

Another first-timer to the list, Norway's most populous city isn't just a hub for tourism but a draw for business throughout Europe. Due to this there is a consistent demand for accommodations, especially during the Nordic festival season.

Buenos Aires

One of the biggest cities in South America rounds out the Top 10 international destinations. Its summer season saw almost double the searches of the previous year, but they had additional upticks during Easter and the Christmas holiday season.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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