By Paul Pannone
A new honeymoon study by The Knot found that 1.4 million couples go on honeymoons per year, spending an average for $4,466 on an eight-day trip (excluding travel time). According to the study sixty-two percent pay for most (at least 90 percent) of their honeymoon on their own.
The survey sample included more than 12,000 U.S. couples married in 2010 raising the eyebrows of wedding industry experts in the destination honeymoon business. Besides the sample size, survey results said more couples are booking their honeymoon on their own, leaving travel agents stranded at the dock.
According to the Knot, fewer honeymooners are using agents than the year before — 28 percent, down from 34 percent in 2009. Travel and Wedding Expert, Jacqueline Johnson, alarmed by results said, “It worries me because travel is a very intricate process these days and without proper guidance there are many pitfalls. Who needs those on a very special event like a honeymoon? Besides, it costs no more to have a travel agent in your corner if something does occur. They are experts and know exactly who to call and what to do,” according to Johnson.
Other highlights of the Knot survey says: The average lead time for booking is about four months out. The most popular international destinations are Mexico (15 percent), Hawaii (12 percent), Jamaica (7 percent), the Bahamas (5 percent), Italy (5 percent), St. Lucia (5 percent), France (3 percent) and U.S.V.I. (3 percent). The most popular continental U.S. destinations are Florida (8 percent), California (5 percent) and Nevada (3 percent). Luxury honeymoons represent Florida (8 percent), California (5 percent) and Nevada (3 percent). The most popular luxury honeymoon destination regions are Europe (28 percent), Caribbean (21 percent), Hawaii (18 percent) and South Pacific (11 percent). Nearly 30 percent of newly married U.S. couples honeymoon exclusively within the continental U.S., whereas more than 70 percent travel outside of the continental U.S. (including Hawaii) for at least some part of their honeymoon. Eighteen percent of honeymooners say sun, surf and sand are not a necessity, but 48 percent consider it among the top three necessary elements. A majority of couples (60 percent) did not scale back their honeymoon budget because of the economy. In fact, one in four couples spent more than they originally budgeted, and 21 percent spent more than $6,000 on their total honeymoon. In addition, 12 percent of couples are registering for their honeymoon, and 20 percent use travel rewards toward their honeymoon. Nationwide, luxury honeymooners spend an average of $9,954 on their honeymoon, and approximately one in four reside in New York or California. They honeymoon for an average of 11 days, and a majority (64 percent) visit more than one locale. The number of couples honeymooning in the continental U.S. has increased — 30 percent in 2010 versus 26 percent in 2009 — surpassing the Caribbean as a honeymoon destination region (28 percent in 2010 versus 31 percent in 2009) for the first time. Top domestic honeymoon locales include Walt Disney World/Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami and the Florida Keys. Self-directed booking dominates, with 47 percent of couples booking their lodging directly with a vendor and 21 percent using a third-party online travel site. While couples are decreasingly using travel agents to book lodging (28 percent in 2010 compared with 34 percent in 2009), more than half of honeymooners are booking a portion of their honeymoon online. In fact, 9 percent of honeymooners use a mobile app with their planning, and 2 percent book lodging on online deal-of-the-day websites like WeddingChannel.com Deals, Groupon and Jetsetter. Despite the increase in domestic honeymoons, only 9 percent of domestic honeymooners consider the continental U.S. their “dream” honeymoon destination. The top “dream” honeymoon destination overall is Europe, followed by the South Pacific and then Hawaii.
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