Hurricane season is for bargain-hunters

Hurricane season will not keep travelers from their destinations! A recent survey by TripAdvisor®, which mined the opinions of more than 1,000 U.S. travelers, reports that 43 percent plan to hit a hurricane-prone destination this summer or fall – peak hurricane season. This is up from 36 percent last year. Sixty-five percent of the survey’s respondents are doing this to take advantage of a “significant savings.”

Blame the financial crisis.

An already dismal market for travel companies is likely to be exacerbated by storm risk in areas traditionally visited by hurricanes. To 25 percent of the survey respondents, this is why they’re going. Another 25 percent they could be convinced to enter hurricane neighborhood for discounts of greater than 50 percent on travel and accommodations.

Many of these survey-takers speak from experience. Thirty-two percent of them have been through hurricanes while on vacation … and it would take a lot to get them to leave. Eleven percent would bail when a Category 1 storm hits, and another 18 percent would move for a Category 2. The tipping point is Category 3, which would prompt 26 percent to leave, with a Category 4 storm shedding another 10 percent. Three percent of respondents would leave for a Category 5 storm, and only 2 percent would stick around regardless of hurricane potency. A whopping 29 percent answered, “I don’t know.”

Thirty percent of respondents simply avoid certain destinations because of hurricane risk, with the Caribbean the destination most avoided during storm season. Fifty-five percent would only cancel their plans if a storm was imminent, while 19 percent would cancel on possibility alone. Some hedge their bets – 30 percent said they are likely to buy trip insurance to protect their hard-earned cash from hurricane-related cancelations.

“Despite some reluctance to visit hurricane-susceptible destinations during storm season, a large number of travelers are willing to roll the dice if the price is right,” said Michele Perry, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor.