Summer Season Travel Trends
by Lindsey Schmid, Vice President of Tourism & Marketing
Originally appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Berkshire Magazine.
Stockbridge Bowl view from Kripalu.
Although still early in 2021, our tourism industry is actively planning for summer in the Berkshires. We know the new year will have challenges similar to those of 2020, but we look forward to a number of silver linings.
While many are still hunkered down at home, nothing has stopped us from travel dreaming. According to a recent VRBO study, 82% of people have made travel plans for 2021. Trends in the new year will be similar to those of 2020: people will look for drivable destinations, open space, water activities, and outdoor fun. Most travel will continue to center around households, encouraging visitors to seek destinations the whole family can enjoy.
This bodes well for the Berkshires. Similar to 2020, our region is well-positioned to attract a fresh, younger demographic from across the Commonwealth and New England. What I believe will be different from last year is that we will see a return of our legacy visitors, those who travel to the Berkshires year after year. This demographic is older and more susceptible to the virus, so 2020 found them staying closer to home (with the exception of second homeowners who may have come and never left). With the dissemination of the vaccine, traditional Berkshire visitors will again feel safe to return.
Other notable trends include flexcations, where travelers mix work with play, as well as canna-tourism. Where better to spend a few hours in Zoom meetings, then escape to a mountain peak or paddle on a lake than in the Berkshires? New dispensaries and grow facilities open almost monthly across the country marking a continued interest by visitors in making cannabis one of their many vacation experiences. Both trends are likely to spark more interest in a visit to the Berkshires.
“Godspell” at Berkshire Theatre Group.
Our cultural landscape may continue to shift in 2021, but as we saw in 2020, creativity abounds: consider The Mount’s Nightwood, Berkshire Theatre Group’s Godspell, and Hancock Shaker Village’s concert series. The new year will see more of our cultural destinations reopening and welcoming visitors, even if in slightly different ways than previously imagined. Coupled with the expansion of outdoor recreation offerings, I am hopeful for fantastic summer and fall seasons in the Berkshires.
At 1Berkshire, we plan to ensure the region remains top-of-mind with marketing focused on travel inspiration. This includes promoting all there is to do virtually as well as continuing to feed travelers ideas and imagery that will inspire them to plan a Berkshire getaway now and travel later. As the economy reopens, we are poised for a two-pronged marketing campaign that will reach major feeder markets in NYC and Boston metro areas, one that will focus on younger families looking to get outside and make memories in a new place and one that we will continue enticing our legacy visitors with new ways to experience a place they have always loved.
I look forward to seeing what the 2021 season has in store for us, and know that despite the challenges this pandemic has caused, the Berkshires will use this time to innovate, as we always have, and come out stronger and more creative than ever.