Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

AAA forecasts the most holiday road trippers on record; INRIX predicts drive times could be more than three times longer than normal

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 15, 2019) – Nearly 43 million Americans will start their summers on a high note with a Memorial Day weekend getaway. This long holiday weekend, marking the unofficial start of summer vacation season, will see the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000, trailing only the bar set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.5 million more people will take to the nation’s roads, rails and runways compared with last year, a 3.6% increase.

Additional Resources

Despite a rising national gas price average that is inching closer to the $3 per gallon mark, the vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. For these motorists, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be more than three times longer than normal during evening commutes.

“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”

By the numbers: 2019 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 37.6 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 3.5% more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.25 million people will take to the skies, 4.8% more than last year, second only to 2005.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 3.8% to 1.9 million passengers.

Drivers beware: Worst times to hit the road

For the 37.6 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip, while New Yorkers and Washington, D.C., could see three times the delay.

“Drivers in the most congested metros should expect much worse conditions than normal,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Travelers should anticipate delays to start on Wednesday and continue through Memorial Day. Our advice to drivers is to avoid the morning and evening commuting times or plan alternate routes.”

 

Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip
Atlanta Thursday, May 23 4:30 – 6:30 PM 2.2x
Boston Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
Chicago Friday, May 24 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.6x
Detroit Friday, May 24 2:30 – 4:30 PM 1.7x
Houston Sunday, May 26 2:15 – 4:15 PM 1.0x
Los Angeles Friday, May 24 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.0x
New York Thursday, May 23 4:45 – 6:45 PM 2.0x
San Francisco Saturday, May 25 1:00 – 3:00 PM 1.6x
Seattle Monday, May 27 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.0x
Washington, D.C. Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
      Source: INRIX

Higher gas prices won’t keep holiday travelers home
Gas prices have increased by more than 30 cents in the last two months with the national average approaching $3 per gallon ($2.86 on May 14, 2019), which is relatively on par with prices this time last year ($2.87 on May 14, 2018). However, 88% of travelers will choose to drive to their Memorial Day destinations this year, the most on record.

“When gas prices are expensive, travelers may shorten the distance of a road trip, eat out less or look for free activities,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “But, overall, prices are very similar to this time last year and, like then, they aren’t letting that deter them from taking summer road trips.”

Travelers to see relief in lower hotel and car rental costs

While road trippers are paying more to fill up their vehicles at the gas pump, some of that additional expense can be made up with lower prices on car rentals and hotels this Memorial Day. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, car rental prices have declined 7% compared with last year, with an average daily rate of $55. Mid-range hotels are between 2% and 3% cheaper this year, with an average nightly rate of $146 and $183, respectively, for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated properties. Meanwhile, airfares are holding steady compared with last Memorial Day, for an average roundtrip price of $171.

Top Memorial Day travel destinations
Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas can expect an influx of travelers for the holiday. These are the top destinations in the U.S. this Memorial Day weekend, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. New York, New York
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Anchorage, Alaska
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. San Francisco, California

For those travelers planning an international vacation for Memorial Day, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular locales for international vacations this Memorial Day weekend, with Vancouver, Canada, rounding out the top five.

According to Hertz, a more than 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 24, with an average rental length of nearly five days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

AAA to rescue more than 353,000 motorists
AAA expects to be called on to rescue more than 353,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

AAA recommends motorist take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

Methodology:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

About INRIX:
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.

Theme Parks, European Vacations Top Summer Travel Itineraries

April 11th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Majority of U.S. travelers planning a summer getaway

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 11, 2019) – According to a recent AAA Travel survey, two-thirds of leisure travelers (64 percent) plan to take vacations this summer. Many of those vacationers will head to historical European cities or soak up the sun in Orlando’s theme parks and attractions, according to an analysis of AAA’s travel booking data.

“Millions of Americans are making plans for summer vacations, visiting famous landmarks in Europe, family attractions stateside, and anything in between,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “AAA recommends travelers plan ahead and book early with the expertise of a knowledgeable travel agent to maximize your vacation experience, saving time and money so you can focus on making vacation memories that will last well after summer fades away.”

Additional Resources

Top Summer Travel Destinations

These are the top summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips June 1 through August 15, 2019:

 
  1. Orlando, Florida (1)
  2. London, England (5)
  3. Rome, Italy (2)
  4. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (3)
  5. Dublin, Ireland (4)
  6. Paris, France (7)
  7. Seattle, Washington (9)
  8. Anchorage, Alaska (8)
  9. Honolulu, Hawaii (6)
  10. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (12)

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2018 ranking.

Top trends for summer travel this year include:

  • Orlando, Florida, once again claims the top spot as the most-visited summer travel destination. The city’s world-famous theme parks are a top draw for families, as Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World prepare to unveil new attractions this summer.
  • Europe is a bucket list destination for many Americans, and this summer is no exception. London has grown in popularity compared with last year, while Rome, Dublin and Paris continue to be hot spots for top summer travel destinations.
  • Alaskan cruises are a top vacation choice for summer travelers this year, with Vancouver, Seattle and Anchorage topping the list of embarkation ports for these coveted sailings.
  • After a harsh winter, many Americans will flock to warm-weather destinations, particularly those in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, has once again cracked the top 10 after briefly dipping off last year’s list.

“These top locales are sure to see an influx of travelers this summer, but some people will be looking for great vacation spots with slightly fewer crowds,” continued Twidale. “Other destinations to watch this year that didn’t quite make the top 10 list include Montego Bay, Jamaica; Calgary, Canada; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Anaheim, California.”

Be Road Trip Ready

While many travelers will tour Europe, take cruises, visit theme parks and soak up the sun in Hawaii or the Caribbean, road trips remain a top choice for many families this summer. AAA expects to be called on to rescue nearly 8 million Americans at the roadside this summer season, with the top reasons being flat tires, lockouts and dead batteries. AAA Automotive experts recommend these car care tips to prepare your vehicle for a summer road trip:

  • Tires – Make sure to inflate tires to the recommended pressure listed in the owner’s manual or on the driver-side doorjamb. To check tread wear, insert a quarter upside down; if the top of George Washington’s head is visible at any point, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
  • Brakes – Inspect the brake system for fluid leaks, and check all components for wear at every oil change and whenever there are signs of a potential problem. Pay attention to any brake warning indicators on your car’s instrument panel, or any grinding or scraping noises when applying the brakes.
  • Battery – After three years, have your battery tested to determine remaining capacity. In many areas, AAA members can have a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician come to their home or work to perform a free battery test and install a new battery on site if needed.
  • Fluids – Change the oil at the intervals specified by the vehicle manufacturer and use an oil that meets the vehicle’s factory specifications. Also, check the engine coolant and brake, transmission, and power steering fluids.

Regardless of destination, travelers can look to AAA for assistance planning and booking unforgettable vacations this summer. For more information, visit AAA.com/Travel.  

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Road trips reign supreme for family getaways

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 21, 2019) – From coast to coast, families are gearing up for another year of exciting travel adventures with their loved ones. According to a recent AAA Travel survey, nearly 100 million Americans – 4 in 10 U.S. adults – are planning to take a family vacation in 2019, slightly more than last year. Spring and summer road trips will top many of these families’ vacation plans.

  • Two-thirds of all family travelers (68 percent) will embark on a summer getaway, while just under half (45 percent) are making plans to travel as a family this spring.
  • Regardless of the season, the great American road trip remains a major draw for these families; about half of traveling families (53 percent) expect to pack up their cars for a road trip this year.
  • Travelers in the South are more likely to be making plans for a family trip this year (62 percent) than travelers in the Northeast (35 percent).

Additional Resources

A welcome gift to road trippers, gas prices have averaged nearly a quarter cheaper so far in 2019 compared with the first few months of last year. While gas prices are increasing now, summer prices are expected to be cheaper than last year. Another recent AAA survey found that 33 percent of Americans would go on at least one additional summer road trip if gas prices remain low.

“The great American road trip is still one of the best ways for families to relax and reconnect with one another,” said Stacey Barber, executive director, AAA Travel Information & Content. “This is quickly shaping up to be another busy year for family travelers, both on the roadways, as well as other popular travel destinations and attractions. To make the most of their vacations, AAA recommends families plan and research as far ahead as possible to avoid missing out on popular activities and fun.”

To help inspire would-be road trippers, AAA’s travel editors have curated more than 450 pre-planned road trips. The top five routes for summer travel according to AAA member road trip routing data are as follows:

  1. Las Vegas to National Parks – Any road trip through the desert southwest is full of unique twists and turns, regardless of whether you remain on the interstate or head off along enticing back roads. Long the destination for gold prospectors and other dreamers, the mountains and valleys of the Arizona, Nevada and Utah deserts today provide a glimpse of mankind’s historical interaction with the area’s fantastic natural landscapes.
  2. Northern California and Southern Oregon Coast – The trip begins in California’s Central Valley, meanders through high elevation forests and snakes up the awe-inspiring Pacific coast. Not to be rushed, this extraordinary route is winding, narrow and flanked by the ocean and majestic redwood trees. As you make your way past beach towns and shifting sand dunes, you’ll find constant stops are necessary to photograph the stunning terrain.
  3. Northern New England – You’ll travel the backroads of New England on this trek through the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Quaint country inns, steepled churches and weathered barns—some predating the Revolutionary War—dot the roadside.
  4. Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina – If any drive merited the term “scenic,” it’s the Blue Ridge Parkway. Begun in 1935 to create a transportation link between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it was finally completed in 1983. This winding road was designed to maximize enjoyment of the mountainous terrain, so heed the posted speed limit.
  5. Black Hills, South Dakota – This picturesque route winds through South Dakota’s Black Hills, taking you from one of America’s best-known landmarks, Mount Rushmore, past granite spires and into historic mining towns nestled in valleys thick with Ponderosa pine. The area packs so much scenery into a small area that it’s become a mecca for motorcyclists and anyone else who loves the outdoors.

For more destination recommendations, travel tips and expert advice from AAA inspectors and travel editors, visit AAA.com/TravelTips. AAA’s travel experts offer these top tips for a perfect family road trip:

  • Be prepared – For passengers, pack books, games, or music for the ride, and a pillow. Bring information on your destination to keep kids and other passengers entertained. Pack healthy snacks for kids, especially if you can’t stop for a full meal while traveling.
  • Safety first – Drivers should plan frequent stops, about every 100 miles or two hours, to remain alert. Make sure everyone is restrained by seat belts or a child safety seat to prevent injury in case of a sudden stop, swerve or crash. AAA members who are renting a car through Hertz can request a complimentary infant car seat or toddler booster seat.
  • Pack your patience – Be prepared for busy roads and long airport security lines throughout the summer. If hitting the road during a holiday weekend, consider leaving earlier or later than the typical holiday travel times to avoid heavy traffic. Same goes for air travel, and be sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours before scheduled take-off.
  • Do your research – To make the most of your trip, map out your route in advance, using a tool like AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner. For extra guidance, seek the advice of a knowledgeable travel agent. And be sure to download the AAA Mobile app to find AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, gas prices and fun stops along the way.
  • Be road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. In case of an emergency, always carry a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit and extra water. To locate a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop in your area, visit com/AutoRepair.

Passengers are one of the most precious cargo on a trip, be it 5 or 50 miles down the road. AAA recommends drivers keep their attention on the road by pre-programing GPS devices and adjusting seats and mirrors before driving. So a driver can remain focused safely on driving, enlist the help of passengers and don’t use handheld or hands-free cell phones while driving.

AAA’s family travel research is the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,007 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted January 24-27, 2019. This study has an average statistical error of ±3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

 

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Three Restaurants Added as AAA Five Diamond Honorees

February 14th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Just 67 restaurants in North America meet AAA’s rigorous Five Diamond expectations

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 14, 2019) – Only 67 restaurants in North America currently have what it takes to hold AAA’s distinctive Five Diamond Rating, including three restaurants added this year – Atera, COAST and Oriole. The coveted 2019 Five Diamond Award restaurant list makes up just 0.2 percent of the nearly 32,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Additional Resources

Among the exclusive number of high-end establishments that have attained the Five Diamond Rating, AAA’s inspectors note many are adopting a much more casual environment in response to evolving guest preferences for a more relaxed experience. High-end restaurants are adopting simple, streamlined décor and, thanks in part to the popularity of cooking shows and competitions, some continue to highlight lively open kitchen designs that allow guests to watch and even interact with culinary staff.

“Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “To be considered leading edge, chefs must incorporate a laser-focused approach using innovative concepts and menus featuring the finest ingredients. Diners want to be wowed on multiple levels, so exceptional service is also important, but they’re not necessarily looking for all the formalities that were once synonymous with fine dining.”

Following a rigorous evaluation that includes anonymous dining by an experienced AAA inspector and review by a panel of experts, these restaurants earned Five Diamonds for the first time this past year.

  • Atera (New York, New York) – A treat for all the senses, the tasting menu slowly builds and excels with never-before-seen visual presentations and combinations. In a small dining room with a chef’s table open to the kitchen and a lone side dining table for a party of four, it does not get much more exclusive than this.
  • COAST (Watch Hill, Rhode Island) – Located within a stately seaside inn with dramatic views of the ocean, this restaurant prides itself on using local Rhode Island and Atlantic Coast farm-to-table ingredients. The menu changes daily to incorporate the freshest items from local farmers and fishmongers.
  • Oriole (Chicago, Illinois) – The classy dining room is made more interesting by the brightly illuminated display kitchen that allows diners to watch the artful assembly of each plate. A multi-course menu is designed to be a surprise for guests.

Atera and Oriole both debut as AAA Five Diamond restaurants, while COAST—Rhode Island’s first Five Diamond restaurant—was upgraded from Four Diamonds.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 2.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants, are also an exclusive group. They offer a distinctive fine-dining experience, employing creative preparations that are skillfully served amid upscale ambience. This year, there are 656 Four Diamond restaurants located across North America, including 39 additions this year.

To see the complete lists of 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Restaurant Facts. The 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond Award-winning hotels were announced in January.

About AAA Diamond Ratings  

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant inspections guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. AAA conducts these inspections as the trusted source of nearly 60 million members, guiding them to have memorable travel and dining experiences.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Exclusive European river cruise hosted by the famed PBS personality available for booking now

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 5, 2019) – AAA Travel, one of North America’s largest leisure travel agencies, has joined one of the most recognized women in travel television as a sponsor of Samantha Brown’s “Places to Love” on PBS. The show follows along as Samantha visits 27 destinations near and far, highlighting the emotional value of travel and introducing viewers to the people and hidden gems that make each spot unique. The 13-episode second season is airing now ‒ check local listings for dates and times.

Additional Resources

This summer, viewers inspired by Samantha’s travels can sail with her on an exclusive river cruise onboard AmaWaterways’ newest ship, AmaMagna. Travelers have the opportunity to join her on the ship for eight days, immediately after she christens the vessel as its ceremonial godmother as it launches in Germany. The itinerary, which includes two travel talks with Samantha, takes travelers through the heart of Europe, from Vilshofen, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, July 14-21.

“AAA and Samantha Brown share a passion for travel, and we’re excited to help bring to life season two of ‘Places to Love’,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “And now travelers can join Samantha Brown for an exclusive sailing onboard the AmaMagna. This incredible opportunity is available just in time for ‘wave season,’ the best time to book a cruise vacation.”

In addition to interactive sessions with Samantha and a personalized gift from the travel expert, the sailing includes immersive tours in every port, including active, regular and late-riser options for exploring; all onboard dining, including special welcome and Captain’s Gala dinners; unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; daily entertainment including cultural performances and more. AAA members also receive $150 onboard spending credit, the services of a AAA host, and AAA Vacations 24/7 member care.

“I am thrilled to be able to host my first cruise on AmaMagna, especially the day after I become her godmother,” said Samantha Brown. “Cruising the Danube has been a dream of mine and I’m counting the days until July 14!”

For more information about AAA’s sponsorship of Samantha Brown’s “Places to Love” or the exclusive sailing onboard AmaMagna, visit www.AAA.com/SamanthaBrown.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

About Samantha Brown:

Known for her warm, engaging personality and her ability to convey the true character of the people and places she visits throughout the world, Samantha has been inspiring wanderlust since her television journey first began with Travel Channel’s “Great Hotels.” Since then, her career has taken her to over 250 cities in 62 countries and 40 of the United States, winning her two Emmys in the process. A natural extension of her years on the road, in 2011, Samantha debuted her own stylish and practical luggage line on HSN, the Home Shopping Network. Designed from her travel expert’s perspective, blending style and utility, the line instantly became a top “customer pick” and was one of the most successful brand launches for the year.

Follow Samantha via her website, www.samantha-brown.com; on Instagram @samanthabrowntravels; Facebook at www.facebook.com/RealSamanthaBrown/; and @samanthabrown on Twitter.

Ten Hotels Join AAA’s Prestigious Five Diamond List for 2019

January 31st, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallFive Diamond properties are noted for ultimate luxury, sophistication and comfort

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 31, 2019) – With the addition of 10 new properties, AAA has unveiled the coveted 2019 Five Diamond Award list totaling 121 hotels. This exclusive group represents just 0.4 percent of the more than 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels across North America.

Additional Resources

“The Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment that recognizes the upper echelon of hotels. These properties have extraordinary physical qualities, extensive amenities and impeccable standards of excellence in delivering a highly personalized experience,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings.

Following a rigorous evaluation that includes in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays and, finally, review by a panel of experts as an additional step to ensure credibility, 10 hotels have been added as Five Diamond honorees throughout the past year.

  • Baccarat Hotel New York (New York, New York) – Crystal chandeliers sparkle as they chime overhead and exquisite stemware overflows with champagne in the lounges, creating rich pleasures for the senses at this storybook destination from the fabled French glass company.
  • Banyan Tree Mayakoba (Playa del Carmen, Mexico) – The unique mixture of Asian and Mexican architecture is stunning throughout. This gated resort, located on the famed Riviera Maya coast, blends untouched nature in a carefully maintained ecosystem.
  • Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver, Canada) – Guests are pampered at this luxury tower, which has a beautiful, innovative design. Gorgeous rooms with spectacular views feature an enhanced Pacific Northwest feel.
  • Hotel Emma (San Antonio, Texas) – Guests will be stunned by this chic hotel, the site of the former Pearl’s Brewhouse, built in 1894, including its upscale, beautifully crafted lobby, library and rooftop pool areas.
  • Montage Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico) – This upscale property features several infinity-edge pools that blend in with the ocean and overlook the secluded beach. The impressive guest bathrooms feature indoor and outdoor showers.
  • NIZUC Resort & Spa (Cancun, Mexico) – This beautiful and expansive resort features rustic and elegant Mayan-inspired décor. The guest rooms are spacious with many custom furnishings and luxurious features.
  • Rosewood San Miguel de Allende (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico) – This colonial-style hacienda has gorgeous public areas and meticulously maintained gardens. The spacious guest rooms feature a refined colonial décor with a fireplace and terrace.
  • The Dominick Hotel (New York, New York) – With stellar views of the city, this bastion of contemporary luxury features swanky modern Italian furnishings, impressive artworks and marble bathrooms. The SoHo location puts you at the very heart of Manhattan’s fashion culture.
  • The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston (Houston, Texas) – Houston’s premier property offers its guests impeccable service and highest quality amenities. This contemporary hotel is a crown jewel among the city’s accommodations.
  • The St. Regis Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico) – This gleaming hotel tower offers large rooms complete with high-tech conveniences and a butler. The views are stunning, with many overlooking iconic symbols of Mexico.

Many of this year’s new Five Diamond honorees have received top marks in the past for their physical attributes that, although impressive, were not paired with AAA’s exceptionally high Five Diamond service expectations, until now. After demonstrating notable service enhancements, San Antonio’s first Five Diamond establishment, Hotel Emma, as well as Banyan Tree Mayakoba, NIZUC Resort & Spa, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, and The St. Regis Mexico City, received the coveted fifth Diamond for the first time.

Others, like Baccarat Hotel, The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston and Montage Los Cabos, attained the AAA Five Diamond Rating shortly after opening within the past 12 months. 

Hotel trends observed by AAA inspectors, often appearing first at high-end properties, include continued developments in the use of technology to enhance service. Responding to this trend, AAA recently updated its hotel Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines, which reflect the importance of connective technologies such as availability of in-room tablets, mobile apps, interactive kiosks, mobile key technology and digital messaging services.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 6.3 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels, are also an exclusive group. They must be refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. This year, there are 1,722 Four Diamond hotels.

To see the complete lists of 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotels, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotel Facts.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Twidale brings more than 35 years’ experience to
the nearly 60 million member organization

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (January 23, 2019) – AAA, North America’s largest motorist and leisure travel organization, today announced that travel industry leader and trail-blazer Paula Twidale has been named vice president of AAA Travel effective February 4, 2019. She replaces Bill Sutherland, who retired in December after more than 21 years with the organization.

Additional Resources

Twidale brings more than 35 years of distinguished travel industry experience to AAA Travel, most recently serving as executive vice president of Collette Vacations as well as the first female board chair of United States Tour Operators Association, a nonprofit professional association that serves as the unified voice of the tour operator industry, protecting consumer interests. In addition, she has been nominated five times as one of the most powerful women in travel by Travel Agent Magazine.

“AAA Travel has a strong reputation among its members and the traveling public as the go-to travel expert. I am honored to join an organization with the respected history and brand reputation of AAA,” said Paula Twidale. “Travel provides a great opportunity to build member engagement through the offering of differentiated benefits and personalized services, which members have grown to expect from the AAA brand. I look forward to working collaboratively with the AAA teams and industry partners to promote brand and service excellence to create members for life.”

As AAA Travel’s vice president, Twidale will provide leadership and strategic direction for all of the association’s travel services. She will create and manage strategic alliances, maximizing relationships with preferred suppliers in an effort to increase member benefits. Additionally, her responsibilities include guiding the development of innovative technology solutions to support AAA clubs in the delivery of differentiated travel products and services to members.

“Paula brings to AAA vast experience as a visionary leader in travel. I’m confident that she will serve our organization well, building and expanding upon the trust our members have placed in us for their travel needs,” said Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA. “I look forward to working with her as we bring the federation to the next level of providing our nearly 60 million members one-of-a-kind travel experiences and vacation memories that will last a lifetime.”

During her 27-year tenure with Collette Vacations, the 100-year-old tour operator, Twidale developed and executed innovative, differentiated growth strategies, and led a negotiations team across the United States, Canada and the UK. She also served as executive spokesperson for the organization.

Twidale holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rhode Island College. Additionally, she has completed several executive education programs (including Strategy & Innovation and Executive Leadership) at Harvard Business Continuing Education and MIT Sloan.

About AAA:
AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 35 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

INRIX predicts delays could peak at four times normal drive times;
Thursday, Dec. 20 to be nation’s worst day to travel

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (December 13, 2018) – AAA forecasts that more than one-third of Americans will travel this holiday season. The record-breaking 112.5 million travelers taking to the nation’s runways, roads and rails for the year-end holidays represents a 4.4 percent increase over last year and the most since AAA has been tracking holiday travel. For the more than 102 million people who will pack up their cars for a holiday road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip.

Additional Resources

“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and more Americans than ever will journey to spend time with friends and family or choose to take a vacation,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director, AAA Travel products and services. “Strong economic growth fueled by robust consumer spending continues to drive strong demand for seasonal travel. With a record-breaking one-third of the country choosing to travel this holiday, roadways and airports are sure to be busy.”

By the Numbers: 2018 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Automobiles: More Americans will travel by car this holiday season than ever before. The 102.1 million people expected to pack up their cars for road trips is 4.4 percent higher than last year. It is the most since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2001.
  • Planes: The 6.7 million people who will travel by air this year is the highest level since in 15 years and is 4.2 percent more than last year.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 4 percent, with a total 3.7 million passengers.

Holiday Hotspots

Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX expects drivers to experience the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week – starting on Wednesday, December 19 – as commuters and holiday travelers mix on our nation’s busiest roadways. Drivers in Atlanta, New York City, Boston and Houston will see travel times more than three times a normal trip.

“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in major metro areas – with Thursday, December 20 being the nation’s worst day to travel,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Our advice is to avoid traveling during peak commuting hours. If schedules allow, leave bright and early, or after the morning commute.”

City Worst Day to Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier
Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 22 3:00 – 4:00 PM 4x
New York City Thursday, Dec. 20 9:30 – 10:30 PM 3.75x
Boston Wednesday, Dec. 19 3:30 – 4:30 PM 3.5x
Houston Wednesday, Dec. 19 12:15 – 1:15 PM 3.25x
Detroit Monday, Dec. 24 2:00 – 3:00 PM 3x
Seattle Wednesday, Dec. 19 4:00 – 6:00 PM 2.25x
Chicago Monday, Dec. 24 1:30 – 2:30 PM 2.25x
Los Angeles Thursday, Dec. 20 2:30 – 3:30 PM 2x
San Francisco Friday, Dec. 21 4:15 – 5:15 PM 1.25x
Washington, DC Thursday, Dec. 20 1:15 – 2:15 PM 2.75x
      Source: INRIX

Falling Gas Prices Motivating More Holiday Travelers to Drive
While gas has been relatively expensive throughout this year, a recent drop to the cheapest national gas price averages of the year, combined with rising disposable income, is motivating more Americans to hit the road this holiday season. Gas prices averaged $2.46 for the first week of December, which is two cents per gallon less than one year ago.

Best Times to Fly and Book Christmas Flights

An analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that most holiday air travelers depart two or three days before Christmas and return the day after the holiday. This holiday season, Saturday, December 22, Sunday, December 23 and Wednesday, December 26 will be the busiest days in the skies and at the airports. Fewer holiday travelers choose to fly on Christmas Eve (Monday, December 24) and Christmas Day (Tuesday, December 25), which are the lightest travel days around the Christmas holiday.

Day 3-Year Average Ticket Price Expected Crowds
Saturday (Dec. 22, 2018) $590 Heavy
Sunday (Dec. 23, 2018) $564 Heavy
Monday (Dec. 24, 2018) $512 Light
Tuesday (Dec. 25, 2018) $564 Light
Wednesday (Dec. 26, 2018) $666 Heavy

 

Most travelers booked their Christmas flights between October 26 and November 27, paying an average ticket price of $561 roundtrip. Last-minute planners who book between December 12-18 this year can expect to pay the lowest average airfares, at $488. However, those travelers risk encountering limited availability and their preferred flights may already be sold out.

Car Rental Costs Reach 10-Year High, Hotel Prices Mixed

Holiday road trippers should budget slightly more for a rental car this year, as daily rates have increased 3 percent over last year. At $76, the daily average car rental rate this holiday season is the most expensive in 10 years. Travelers will also pay a bit more at AAA Two Diamond hotels, where prices are 1 percent more than last year, or $122 per night. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Three Diamond hotels has fallen 3 percent to an average nightly cost of $152.

Top 10 Year-End Travel Destinations

Warm-weather destinations are top draws in the winter months, occupying nine of the top 10 spots on the list of most popular holiday destinations, based on AAA’s online and travel agency air and tour bookings. The major cruise ports of Fort Lauderdale and Miami have both gained in popularity compared with last year, on the heels of a strong year for cruise sales. Meanwhile, New York City, the only cold-weather destination to make the top 10, can also expect a growing influx of travelers this holiday season.

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. Anaheim, California (Disneyland)
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. New York, New York
  8. Kahului, Hawaii (Maui)
  9. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  10. Miami, Florida

AAA to Rescue More Than 960,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 960,000 motorists at the roadside this year-end holiday period. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. Members who require roadside assistance can call the toll free number (800-222-4357 or 800-AAA-Help), or contact AAA via www.AAA.com or the AAA mobile app.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 46 percent of all crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter. AAA encourages drivers to be vigilant when hitting the road this winter and to always stay prepared by carrying an emergency roadside kit containing a mobile phone and car charger, first-aid kit, blankets, drinking water and snacks, a flashlight with extra batteries, a basic toolkit, warning flares, an ice scraper, jumper cables and a shovel.

Download the AAA Mobile App Before the Holidays
Before heading out on a holiday road trip, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained inspectors to evaluate each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

About the AAA Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 year-end holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 35 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

About INRIX:
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small. Learn more at INRIX.com.

Media contacts:       

AAA
Julie Hall, APR
(407) 444-8003
juhall@national.aaa.com 

INRIX
Mark Burfeind
(425) 284-3825
mark.burfeind@inrix.com

Julie Hall

INRIX predicts travel times could be up to four times longer over the holiday week

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 8, 2018) – AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip.

Additional Resources

“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”

The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.

By the Numbers: 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 48.5 million – will hit the road this Thanksgiving, nearly 5 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air, at 5.4 percent, with 4.27 million travelers.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 1.4 percent, with a total 1.48 million passengers.

Drivers Beware: Thanksgiving’s Terrible Traffic

Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday. Drivers in San Francisco, New York City and Boston will see the largest delays – nearly quadruple normal drive times.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”

In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.

Worst Times to Hit the Road in America’s Largest Cities
Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Worst Hotspot Delay Multiplier
Houston Monday 2:00 – 4:00 PM TX-8 Beltway E, TX249 to I69 2.75
Boston Tuesday 4:00 – 6:00 PM I-495 S, exit 41 to 33 3.5x
Seattle Tuesday 4:00 – 6:00 PM I-5 S, exit 178 to 149 2x
Atlanta Tuesday 5:00 – 7:00 PM I-75 N, exit 216 to 227 2.75x
Washington, D.C. Tuesday 5:00 – 7:00 PM Capital Beltway Clockwise 2.5x
Detroit Tuesday 5:30 – 7:30 PM US-23 N, exit 35 to 49 2.5x
New York Tuesday 6:00 – 8:00 PM I-95 W, exit 7 to Hamilton Bridge 3.5x
San Francisco Wednesday 1:00 – 3:00 PM I-680 N, exit 8 to 21 4x
Chicago Wednesday 2:30 – 4:30 PM I-94 W, exit 40A to 1 2x
Los Angeles Wednesday 2:30 – 4:30 PM I-5 S, exit 79 to 54B 2x

Source: INRIX

Across the country, travelers who take to the sky must account for long security lines, but also increased drive times to the airport. INRIX expects delays getting to the nation’s busiest airports could be as long as an hour and a half.

Worst Travel Times to America’s Busiest Airports
Metro Area Airport Route Worst Time for Travel Travel Time at Peak
Dallas Downtown to DFW via TX-183 W Monday,
5:00 – 7:00 PM
30 min
San Francisco Downtown to SFO via US-101 S Monday,
5:00 – 7:00 PM
24 min
Denver Downtown to DIA via I-70 E and Pena Blvd Monday,
5:30 – 7:30 PM
55 min
New York Downtown to JFK via Long Island Expressway East Tuesday,
5:30 – 7:30 PM
1 hr 19 min
Los Angeles Downtown to LAX via I-110 S Tuesday,
7:00 – 9:00 PM
58 min
Atlanta Downtown to ALT via I-75 S Tuesday,
7:00 – 9:00 PM
34 min
Charlotte Downtown to CLT via US-74 W Tuesday,
8:00 – 10:00 PM
21 min
Las Vegas Downtown to LAS via I-15 S Wednesday,
8:00 – 9:00 AM
27 min
Chicago Downtown to ORD via Kennedy Expressway West Wednesday,
1:30 – 3:30 PM
1 hr 37 min
Seattle Downtown to SEA via I-5 S Wednesday,
8:00 – 10:00 PM
41 min

Source: INRIX

Higher Gas Prices Not Keeping Holiday Travelers Home
Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average of $2.79 as of November 1, 31-cents more than a year ago.

“Motorists have become accustomed to this year’s more expensive gas prices and won’t let higher fuel costs deter them from taking Thanksgiving road trips,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano.

Best Times to Fly and Book Thanksgiving Flights

An analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving are usually the most popular air travel days and have the highest average price per roundtrip ticket. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving Day consistently has the lowest average price per ticket and is the lightest travel day. Travelers looking to save money this holiday season can fly the morning of the holiday and arrive just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Day 3-Year Average Ticket Price Expected Crowds
Monday (November 19, 2018) $465 Moderate
Tuesday (November 20, 2018) $509 Heavy
Wednesday (November 21, 2018) $507 Heavy
Thursday (November 22, 2018) $446 Light

 

Most travelers booked their flights for Thanksgiving between September 23 and October 25, paying an average ticket price of $478 roundtrip. Procrastinating travelers who still need to book their flights may find cheaper airfares, paying an average ticket price of $459 between now and November 15. However, last-minute flight availability will likely be very limited.

Car Rental Costs Fall, Hotel Prices Mixed

Travelers can expect to save on car rentals this Thanksgiving holiday season. At $63, the average daily rate is 10 percent less than last year, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. Travelers can also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels, with an average nightly rate of $166, a decline of six percent compared to last year. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has increased six percent with an average nightly cost of $124.

Top 10 Thanksgiving Destinations

Many travelers will seek iconic American cities, theme parks and other warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. Orlando, New York City and Anaheim top this year’s top 10 holiday destinations based on AAA’s online and travel agency air and tour bookings. Punta Cana, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami are all gaining popularity as holiday spots compared with last year. 

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. New York, New York
  3. Anaheim, California
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. Cancun, Mexico
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Miami, Florida

AAA to Rescue Nearly 360,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.

Download the AAA Mobile App Before Thanksgiving
Before heading out on a trip for Thanksgiving, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained inspectors to evaluate each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About INRIX:
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small. Learn more at INRIX.com.

 

Top Travel Suppliers and Agents Honored at AAA Travel Conference

October 30th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallPHOENIX, ARIZ. (October 30, 2018) – AAA Travel, one of the largest leisure travel agencies in North America, hosted its annual conference Oct. 21-23 in Phoenix, Arizona. With a theme of “Futurescape: Convergence + Relevance,” the event focused on the forces shaping the future of the travel industry, from technological advancements to evolving consumer expectations. The conference featured world-renowned speakers from across the travel industry, including Pete Rose, executive vice president, Kantar Consulting; Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Wayne Best, Visa’s chief economist; and futurist Chris Riddell, an expert on emerging trends in the connected world.

“We are seeing a convergence of concepts that impact our business, like an expansion of travel planning resources and channels; increasing ease of access for members, which is not limited to technology; and the transformative nature of travel experiences,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel in his conference keynote speech. “AAA members trust us to understand and handle all of the diverse inputs that are at play in vacation planning, including providing expertise on destinations, finding the best value, recommending quality accommodations, and delivering ‘braggable’ experiences.”

During the conference, AAA also presented leading travel industry suppliers with prestigious Partner of the Year awards in 14 categories. These highly coveted awards recognize the partners’ commitment to providing AAA travel agents and members with exemplary travel services in their respective product categories, and for marketing, member service and travel agency support. Additionally, two of AAA’s top-performing agents, Kelly Brock and Henry Dennis of AAA Carolinas, were honored with Travel Agent Superlative Awards.

“We are proud to present AAA Travel’s Partner of the Year Awards to some of the top companies in the travel industry. Our members benefit from these strong partnerships and our shared commitment to providing world-class service and amazing vacation experiences,” said Sutherland. “We are also honored to recognize our two top travel agents with 2018 Superlative Awards, based not only on remarkable sales levels, but more importantly, their commitment to personalized vacation planning on behalf of our members.”

2018 Partner of the Year Awards

(Photos available upon request)

Ocean Cruise Partner of the Year:
Princess Cruises

River Cruise Partner of the Year:
AmaWaterways

Guided Tour Partner of the Year:
Member Choice Vacations

Independent Tour Partner of the Year:
Rocky Mountaineer

Lodging Partner of the Year:
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Marketing:
Cruise:                  AmaWaterways
Tour:                     Rocky Mountaineer
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Member Service:
Cruise:                  Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Tour:                     Insight Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Travel Agency Support:
Cruise:                  Celebrity Cruises
Tour:                     Alexander+Roberts
Lodging:               Marriott International

2018 Travel Agent Superlative Awards

Kelly Brock, AAA Carolinas
Highest Sales, Highest Revenue and Highest Preferred Cruise Sales

Kelly Brock is a 30-year veteran of the travel industry, having served the last 18 years at AAA Carolinas in Bluffton, South Carolina. This is her fifth time being honored as a Superlative Award winner. Her extensive travel experience has taken her to exotic destinations around the world, as well as many European countries, Caribbean islands, and all throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Her passion lies in adventure travel, river cruising and luxury travel.

Henry Dennis, AAA Carolinas
Highest Preferred Tour Sales

Henry Dennis, also a five-time Superlative Award winner, has more than 30 years’ experience in the travel industry. He has also been named by Travel Agent Magazine as a “Top 25 All Star” twice in the past three years. He is a Certified Travel Counselor and Accredited Cruise Counselor. He also holds multiple Destination Specialist and Lifestyle Specialist accreditations, as well as numerous supplier and destination certifications. Dennis is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he has served AAA Carolinas’ members for more than 22 years.

The Partner of the Year Award selection process included surveys and evaluations from the association’s club travel agency executives. Superlative Awards are based on agents’ leisure travel productivity and leisure group sales from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Thousands of agents were eligible for the awards, and AAA clubs nominated their top achievers.

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 35 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

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