'Guests are really looking to go off the beaten path': Wisconsin summer travel trends

Posted at 5:25 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 19:40:45-04

Travel experts believe those who missed out on making vacation memories last year aren't letting this summer slip away.

"Here in Wisconsin for trips of two nights or more, already this year, we're outpacing the pandemic year of 2020. But not only that, but we're also outpacing 2019, which was a record-setting year for tourism in Wisconsin," said Acting Secretary Anne Sayers with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Sayers says with hotels and rentals being scooped up fast, it's giving the hospitality industry a much-needed income boost.

"We're seeing these trends where travelers are traveling in larger-group sizes, they're spending more time on vacation. Those are really strong indicators that they'll spend a little more money," she continued.

COVID-19 vaccinations, according to other travel experts, are only adding to a travelers' confidence. Even so, less crowded spots seem to be more popular.

"Given the CDC's latest guidance for fully vaccinated Americans, we are seeing that Airbnb guests are increasingly planning their summer travel," said Liz Debold Fusco, an Airbnb spokesperson.

"What we're seeing is that guests are really looking to go off the beaten path for this summer," she added.

According to Debold Fusco, Wisconsin's great outdoors is an attraction in and of itself.

"Here in Wisconsin specifically, we've seen a 32-percent increase in searches for more remote destinations and more remote listings across the state," said Debold Fusco.

Airbnb reports seniors in Wisconsin are leading the way with bookings. The online lodging marketplace reports a 53-percent increase in searches for summer stays by guests 60 and older in March, compared to February of 2021.

As far as the cost of your stay, prices vary. Some are much higher than others. When asked if there's a cap to what a host can charge, Debold Fusco explained Airbnb hosts set their own price.

Airbnb reports rural hosts in Wisconsin have earned more than $46 million since the start of the pandemic, from March of 2020 to March of 2021.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, she adds, it's best to book your vacation spot soon.

"What advice would you have for those folks who are not able to find anything?" TMJ4 Consumer Investigator Kristin Byrne asked.

"If you haven't already started looking, and you're planning to take a summer vacation, definitely start looking to book now - book earlier than you normally would this year," Debold Fusco responded.

"Think about going somewhere different this year and search for some of those more rural or off-the-beaten-path locations," she added.

"Wisconsin is huge. It's easy to spread out and find your space. We have 15,000 inland lakes, 43,000 miles of rivers and streams, two great lakes - you're going to find your perfect spot," said Sayers.

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