Nay-cation? Nah! Albertans still travelling, but they’re travelling smarter
The “nay-cation” movement is no match for Albertans’ wanderlust, with AMA Travel reporting early signs that 2016’s domestic vacation sell-outs will be repeated in 2017.
“Last fall, we saw a trend of more people wanting to vacation within Canada in 2016 and this caused a shortage of product. We’re already seeing a similar trend this year, so we’re encouraging people to book early to get the best rooms and avoid disappointment,” said Terry Vander Linden, Product Marketing Manager for AMA Travel. “Demand for travel services is a little bit like demand for snow tires: once the snow hits the ground, the phones ring off the hook.”
But that’s not to say it’s business as usual for travellers.
Albertans are seeking value more than ever, with AMA Travel seeing increased requests for shoulder-season deals, affordable accommodations, and discounted vacation packages as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach. The trend dovetails with a growing movement toward work-life balance, with Albertans’ overtime hours having dipped from about two hours per week between 2011 and 2014 to just 1.4 hours in 2016.
“There’s tremendous value out there right now. For example, Disney has a 25% discount offer for Canadians, many cruise lines are including valuable add-ons, and airlines are offering reduced prices for many destinations,” said Vander Linden. “There really isn’t a better time to get away and make lifelong family memories. But don’t assume that you’re finding the best deals online. Travel agents like ours have access to many offers that the public don’t hear about.”
Until Nov. 13, almost all AMA Travel bookings are eligible for a Win Back Your Trip promotion that allows members the chance to be reimbursed the cost of their purchase in AMA Reward dollars. Because what better way to celebrate vacation memories than offering members the chance to do it all over again!
David and Janet Lougheed, AMA members for 62 years, were the contest’s first winners – and they hit it big. On Sept. 26, the retired farmers from Grande Prairie won the first of eight weekly draws, landing them the maximum payout of $10,000 in AMA Reward dollars on a $10,103 vacation to the British Isles for David’s 80th birthday.
With one Reward dollar equal to one Canadian dollar, it almost certainly means more travel in the couple’s immediate future.
“We were taking trips every second year but with this windfall, I think we’ll make one every year!” said Janet. “It’s a dream come true. I have to pinch myself sometimes.”
On Oct. 3, Frank and Denise Walker similarly won back the cost of the $4,496 trip they booked to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando for themselves and their two teenage children. The Okotoks couple, who are 23-year AMA members, purchased the vacation to celebrate their 30th anniversary and Denise’s 50th birthday.
“Value is very important to us,” said Denise, who trusts AMA to help keep them on budget for accommodations, flights, park passes, travel insurance and even passport photos. “When booking travel, we take into account everything from the timing to the overall value; with growing kids and their activities, everything has to play a part. But with AMA, we’ve never been disappointed.”
Editor’s note: Purchase almost any travel product from AMA Travel between Sept 19 and Nov 13 and you’re eligible to Win Back Your Trip, to a maximum of $10,000. Two winners will be drawn every week for eight weeks, with every travel booking – including ski tickets and admission passes – counting as another contest entry. See amatravel.ca for full contest details.
Photos available of Denise Walker, Janet and David Lougheed.
The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is among the largest membership organizations in Alberta, representing more than 950,000 members. As a leading advocate for traffic safety, travel and consumer protection and crime prevention, AMA represents the interests of its members to industry and all levels of government and helps protect the things they care about most. Visit ama.ab.ca to learn more about AMA’s products, services and member advocacy efforts.