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Renita Jablonski: Labor Day has come and gone. The traditional summer vacation is over. High gas prices and airfares were supposed to give hotels a case of the summertime blues. But enter, the “staycation.” Many parts of the country saw aggressive marketing campaigns to, as they say in the travel business, put more local heads in more beds. Jean-Luc Renault reports.
Jean-Luc Renault: Tourism bureaus across the country spent an average of 30 percent more on travel promotions this summer than last. Cathy Keefe is with the Travel Industry Association. She says a good portion of that $300 million went to courting locals too pinched to take long trips.
Cathy Keefe: The travel industry was extremely proactive in going after what they call the close-in drive market. They knew, based on past research, how travelers would react to rising gas prices and the shaky economy.
Many hotels even threw in cheap rooms, spa packages and dining discounts. Marc Loge is with the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles. He says staycation packages brought in about 10 percent of the hotel’s summer bookings.
Marc Loge: And really that 10 percent really kind of makes up the shortfall that we were going to have this summer.
Staycations might have worked for Wilshire Grand, but they may not be enough to make up for industry-wide losses. Smith Travel Research group reports summer hotel bookings in June and July were down from 2007, largely due to increased travel costs.
I’m Jean-Luc Renault, for Marketplace.
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