Flip Flop Report: Study Examines Beachgoer Behavior and Preferences Across Five Continents

Argentineans are the most sun-soaked, spending an average of 11 days at a time, while Koreans spent a mere 3.2 days per trip.
Brazilians …likeliest to exercise on the beach

Global study reveals attitudes toward price, beach quality, sharks and n…

BELLEVUE, Washington, USA; May 16, 2012
Expedia.com®, the world’s largest online travel agency, today released the results of the 2012 Flip Flop Report, an analysis of behavior and preferences among beachgoers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Harris Interactive, on behalf of Expedia.com, conducted the online study among 8,599 adults in 21 countries.

Among other findings, Expedia’s Flip Flop Report revealed that the beach is by far the favorite destination for the majority of the world’s travelers.

The average beach holiday is just about one week in length, at 7.7 days. Combined with results from Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation® study(1), we can see in the US that Americans spend a full 40% of their allotted vacation days at the beach. In fact, when Americans were asked to choose between spending time at the beach and spending time with family, the beach won handily.

Expedia® has responded to the findings in the 2012 Flip Flop Report by crafting one of the largest Summer Sales in the company’s history. The 2012 Summer Sale began on May 15 and runs through August 31. Participating customers can realize savings that grow in accordance with their planned vacation. Customers that stay 1 to 4 nights can save up to 35% off at more than 12,000 hotels and resorts worldwide.

Expedia also recently conducted a survey(2) of American travelers; it found that a full 41% of Americans – and nearly 1 in 2 men (49%) – have driven across the United States at one point, while 25% of men and 33% of women have “not done so but always wanted to.”

As such, Expedia has structured its Summer Sale to help more Americans experience the open road. For every $150 spent on select Summer Sale hotels this summer, consumers will earn a $25 gas card. For every $250 spent on those hotels, the gas card doubles in value to $50. Should a traveler spend $450 at one of the participating Summer Sale hotels, Expedia will give that traveler a $100 gas card.

Summer travelers aren’t just stopping at saving on flights and hotels. There are more ways than ever to save on car rentals. In fact, some travelers found booking their hotel and car rental together yields a savings so great they offset the cost of the car, making it feel like a “free” car rental.

Additional details on Expedia’s 2012 Summer Sale, including a first-of-its-kind Expedia Beachgoer App, where travel bloggers have recommended their own favorite summer destinations, are featured below. They can also be found here: www.expedia.com/summersale.

“Beach vacations are such an important part of how Americans travel. We’ve just completed our first annual Flip Flop Report which digs deep into what people like about beach travel. Not surprisingly, what they like when they’re planning a trip is saving money, so we’re launching the biggest Summer Sale in Expedia’s history,” said Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. “The report also shows that, once people are actually on vacation, they find a wide variety of ways to have their own kind of fun, whether that’s sports in the sand, surfing in the waves or whatever kind of sunbathing they prefer.”

Flip Flop Report Findings
Despite the carefree nature of a sun-drenched week at the beach, beachgoers worldwide remain cost-conscious. In the US, the most important factor for 78% of beachgoers is the total trip price. The beach itself matters too – total vacation price and beach quality are the #1 and #2 criteria for travelers in 14 of the 21 countries surveyed – but the cost of the visit is the top consideration. The study also found:

The Popularity of the Beach is Unsurpassed
More than half (52%) of respondents plan to holiday at the beach in the next 12 months, compared to 45% who said they took a beach vacation the year prior. And while the average stay for a beach vacation is 7.7 days, this is less true of Koreans, Japanese and Singaporeans, who seem more likely to prefer beach weekends to extended stays. Additionally:

Argentineans are the most sun-soaked, spending an average of 11 days at a time, while Koreans spent a mere 3.2 days per trip.

Americans are creatures of habit: one of the least important criteria for Americans when selecting a beach location is the desire to find a new location.

For Indians, new locations were among the highest priority.

For Most Beachgoers, the Most Popular Activity is… No Activity At All

Relaxing and sunbathing were among the top two activities for beachgoers across all five continents.

The Irish, at 75%, were the most likely to relax, while Mexicans (79%) seem to be happiest with lying in the sun. Brazilians (40%) were likeliest to exercise on the beach; when doing so, they may well stumble over the Japanese, who were 14 times likelier to relax (28%) than exercise (2%). Additionally: Koreans, at 49%, were likeliest to “eat raw food” on the beach. Koreans are unlikely to draw envious stares from Norwegians, who at 1% showed the most aversion to the practice. New Zealanders (36%) and Australians (35%) were most likely to fish at the beach. Canadians were likeliest to strap on a snorkel (34%). 82% of Germans spend beach time swimming. Only 28% of the Japanese do the same.

Germans are likeliest to sunbathe nude. Germans displayed the most permissive attitudes towards nude sunbathing. A full 15% of German respondents indicated that they sunbathed naked. Indians and Spaniards (8%) were the second-likeliest to shed their clothing, while the French (5% clothing-free) were more aligned with Americans (2%), the British (2%) and the Japanese (1%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Germans seem to be the most popular beachgoers: when asked if they’d spent beach days with strangers, the Germans (23%) and Brazilians (19%) were likeliest to say they had.

Additionally: Indians (22%), Canadians (20%), Mexicans (19%), Italians (18%) and the Irish (18%) were likeliest to have participated in “beach bar games.” 31% of Singaporeans had spent beach time at the spa, versus 3% of the Japanese and 5% of the Dutch. Indian (39%), Mexican (34%), Brazilian (30%) and Argentinean (27%) beachgoers were most likely to dance on the beach.

Beachgoers Have Never Gotten Over “Jaws”… Expedia’s Flip Flop Report revealed that beachgoers remain wary of sharks. Well under 100 shark bite incidents are reported worldwide each year, (3) making shark encounters extraordinarily rare. Yet the menace prevails: 50% of travelers consider the presence of sharks when deciding where to holiday, and a full 68% of beach vacationers admit to having been afraid to swim because of sharks.

Additionally: Residents of Brazil (70%) and Singapore (67%) were the most attuned to sharks when planning their beach vacation. Only 3% of Italians always think sharks before entering the water.

New Tools for Planning the Perfect Summer Trip
“The sheer scope of our Summer Sale is a great feature, but can also be a little problematic for some people. The question becomes ‘With more than 12,000 hotels on sale, where do our travelers even begin?'” said Joe Megibow. “We developed two useful ways to help them out. First, we automatically feature the most popular hotels based on where each traveler lives using crowd-sourced data and then, we’ve created a fun app to match the wealth of travel blogger insight to the individual needs of our travelers.”

When travelers visit the Summer Sale site, Expedia will present them with the very best hotel deals within their geographic vicinity, ideal for last-minute local getaways, or as deals to share with incoming friends and relatives.

The Expedia Beachgoer App and Blogger Recommendation Tool

This summer, Expedia has partnered with some of the world’s most influential travel bloggers, as a way to help travelers book the perfect summer trip. To participate, consumers can use the Expedia Beachgoer Facebook app which prompts consumers to take a fun quiz to determine their Beach Travel profile. The profiles, like Zen Beach Mama and Rockin’ Surfer Dude correspond to fifteen influential travel bloggers who have provided recommended destinations to match each profile. For example, a traveler whose profile is “Foodie” would be presented with blogger recommendations to visit cities such as Tokyo, or Bangkok, or New York City. “Adventure” travelers would see blogger recommendations to visit Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to hunt with eagles, or Reykjavic, Iceland, to experience dog sledding.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.com from February 14 – March 21, 2012 among 8,599 adults, 18 and older, in the following countries: the United States (501), Canada (1,249), Mexico (400), Argentina (312), Brazil (308), United Kingdom (402), Germany (423), France (414), Italy (437), Spain (418), Norway (300), Sweden (300), Denmark (300), Ireland (300), Netherlands (300), Japan (429), India (438), South Korea (346), Singapore (321), Australia (400), and New Zealand (301). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact: expediapr@hlgrp.com.

About Expedia.com
Expedia.com is the world’s leading online travel site, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA ) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and in-destination activities, attractions, and services. With the Expedia Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel.