Americans Believe European Cities and Beaches among the Sexiest/Most Romantic locations; More than Half of Americans would be “Somewhat or Very Likely” to Propose on Vacation; Expedia and LAN/TAM Collaborate on Valentine’s Day Promotion

BELLEVUE, Wash., February 9, 2015 – To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Expedia.com®, one of the world's largest full service online travel sites1, today released the results of the Expedia® Heat Index, a study showing how travel impacts American romance, raising the likelihood of short-term flings while lowering inhibitions.

The Expedia Heat Index was commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, an independent global market research company. GfK asked 1,000 Americans aged 18 or older for their opinions on a range of questions – what types of vacation and cities are most romantic and most sexy, what sort of romantic behavior they undertake while traveling, how soon they would feel comfortable taking an overnight trip with a new partner, and more.

The Expedia Heat Index, as well as an illustrative infographic, can be studied in full here.

 Among the findings:

  • 52% of Americans say they would be “somewhat or very likely” to propose while on vacation. 43% would be “not very / not at all likely” to do so.
    • CNN reports that in 2014, as many as six million people were preparing, or expecting, a marriage proposal on Valentine's Day.
  • 5% of Americans have gone topless in public while on holiday. 3% have gone fully nude.
  • Americans voted Paris, France as both the world’s “sexiest” and most “romantic” city.
  • 21% of Americans report having been intimate with a partner in a hot tub while on holiday. 4% have done so in a rental car.
  • 28% of Americans report being “more intimate” with a partner while on vacation. 39% demurred, saying it “depends on the location.”
  • 12% of Americans have engaged in a holiday fling with someone they met on vacation.
  • 7% of Americans have either ended, or considered ending, a relationship while on holiday with that partner.
  • 29% of Americans consider “1 to 3 months” as the appropriate time in a new relationship to take an overnight trip. 27% believe 4-8 months is more appropriate.

“Travelers all over the country told us that they are craving heat right now and that going on vacation is the best way to heat up on the beach and in the bedroom,” said Expedia Senior Editor Sarah Waffle Gavin. “There’s never been a better time to take your significant other on that dream trip to Paris or Rio de Janeiro. Since the dollar is so strong, last year’s splurge is this year’s deal, so get out there and get your heat on.”

Vacations drive libido and lower inhibitions. The Expedia Heat Index showed:

Five percent of Americans have gone topless at the beach while on vacation. Three percent have sunbathed fully nude. Sixty-four percent of Americans have done “neither,” while 21% chose “not yet.” Nine percent of Americans aged 25-34 have gone topless at the beach, versus 3% aged 65 and older.

Only 11% of Americans report feeling “somewhat or very comfortable” at a topless beach. Twenty-two percent report feeling “neutral” about such venues, versus 23% who are “somewhat or very uncomfortable.” Forty-two percent of Americans have never been to a topless beach.

Sixty-five percent of Americans listed “the hotel” as the place they were most likely to have been intimate with a partner on vacation. “The bathtub” (23%) edged “hot tub” as the second likeliest venue. Twenty percent of Americans have been intimate on the beach. Seventeen percent have been intimate in a tent, 10% on a balcony, 10% on a boat and 8% while hiking. Four percent report having been intimate in a rental car.

Americans believe beach vacations are the most romantic types of travel (29 percent say so). Twenty-two percent of Americans believe “international travel to exotic locations” is most romantic, followed by travel to the “countryside” (also 22%). Only 5% of Americans believe “city” vacations are most romantic. Beaches also topped the list of “dream romantic getaways,” cited by 28% of Americans. “Outdoor adventure” (16%) ranked second.

Thirteen percent of Americans cited simply “Putting the Do Not Disturb On Your Door” as their dream romantic holiday. When asked to choose between beaches and pools, 58% chose beaches, versus 24% for pools. Fifteen percent prefer “neither.”

Paris is both the sexiest tourist destination and the most romantic. Out of a list of more than 50 major travel destinations, Paris topped both lists, selected by 56% of Americans as “sexy” and 61% as “romantic.” The second “sexiest” destination was Las Vegas (43%) while the second most “romantic” was the Bahamas (27%). The top ten in both categories follows:

      Sexy                                                                                  Romantic

  1. Paris (56%)                                                                      1.Paris (61%)
  2. Las Vegas (43%)                                                               2.Bahamas (27%)
  3. Cancun (36%)                                                                   3.Cancun (24%)
  4. Bahamas (34%)                                                                 4.Barcelona (24%)
  5. Miami (31%)                                                                      5.London (23%)
  6. Barcelona (27%)                                                                6.New York City (23%)
  7. New York City (27%)                                                          7.Las Vegas (21%)
  8. Rio de Janeiro (25%)                                                          8.St. Thomas (21%)
  9. 9.St. Thomas (25%)                                                           9.St. Martin (19%)
  10. Jamaica (24%)                                                               10. San Francisco (19%)

The three least sexy cities were Beijing (2%), Istanbul (2%) and Kowloon, Hong Kong (1%). The three least romantic cities were Bogota (1%), Beijing (1%) and Kowloon, Hong Kong (1%).

Twelve percent of Americans have had a holiday fling, reporting that they “met or hooked up” with someone while on vacation. While 22% of Americans would “consider extending a relationship that began on vacation,” 32% said they would not. Forty-three percent said it depended on how far away the other person lived.

Seven percent of Americans have ended, or considered ending, a relationship while on holiday with that person. Among those who did end a relationship, 45% stayed on the vacation anyway. Twenty-seven percent left, and 12% had the partner leave. Of those who did remain on vacation, 16% ended up staying in separate rooms.

Ten percent of Americans consider it appropriate to take an overnight vacation with a new partner within one month of the relationship’s start. Twenty-nine percent say they would wait 1-3 months to do so, while 27% would wait 4-8 months. Sixteen percent would wait more than a year. The distance of the overnight trip was an important factor; 29% it was less appropriate to take a trip to Paris after dating someone for a short while than it was to take a weekend away within driving distance.

“A room with a view” is the most romantic hotel feature, according to 64% of Americans. Fifty-five percent cite a “fireplace,” 46% cite “hot tub” and 44% chose “private beach.” Twenty-three percent selected “the spa,” while a full 21% of American travelers believe “room service” ranks among a hotel’s most romantic features.

Two percent of Americans have been intimate with “a hotel employee, flight attendant or tour guide” that they met on vacation. Four percent have “considered it.”

Expedia and South America’s Leading Airlines Offer Valentine’s Day Sale
Because Valentine’s Day is an attractive travel moment for couples looking to spice up their relationships – or for singles looking to find romance in an exotic locale – Expedia has collaborated with LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines to offer Valentine’s Day deals on Expedia.com. The Valentine’s Day promotion features flights to gorgeous South American destinations that are ideal for romance, such as Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and Lima, on-board the award-winning LAN and TAM.

Valentine’s Day deals are available here.

About the Survey
The study was conducted online using the GfK “KnowledgePanel,” an online probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US general population, not just the online population. The study consisted of 1,015 interviews conducted between January 16 and 18, 2015, among adults aged 18+. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points.

About Expedia.com
Expedia.com is one of the world's largest full service travel sites1, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, cheap tickets, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps. With the Expedia Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel.

Expedia, Expedia.com, Expedia Rewards, Find Yours and the Airplane logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners © 2015 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2029030-50

1Based on a comparison of other full-service online travel agencies, defined as those providing booking and services related to air, hotel, cruise, car and activities to a global customer base. Data based on comScore Media Metrix for Expedia, Inc. Sites, Worldwide, Average Monthly Unique Visitors, Oct '12-Sept '13.

About GFK

GfK is one of the world's largest research companies, with more than 13,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2012, GfK's sales amounted to €1.51 billion. To find out more, visit www.gfk.com

GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications is a division of GfK. The group specializes in customized public affairs and public opinion polling, media and corporate communications research, and corporate reputation measurement in the US and globally, in addition to delivering a broad range of customized research studies.

SOURCE: Expedia.com
Web site: http://www.expedia.com/

For more information, please contact:

Ingrid Belobradic                                              Jessica Parker
Expedia.com                                                    HL Group
(425) 679-8253                                                 (646) 460-8928
ibelobradic@expedia.com                                  jparker@hlgrp.com