What is normal now? Spending less? Saving more? Trading down? Scaling back? Everyone appears to have an opinion but no one seems to know for sure.

On one hand, some contend spending money for a great lifestyle is cultural in this country -- it’s in our DNA -- and a recession like the one we’ve just lived through won’t stop us from returning to our high spending ways once the economy starts moving again. If they’re right, it’s certainly good long-term news for boat dealers.

On the other hand, it seems a majority of economists are now convinced this great recession has changed the landscape forever. To bolster their case, they cite as examples, a recent poll that 95 percent of all builders plan to construct smaller homes because the market for once sought-after McMansions is no longer a good bet looking forward. Or, new, smaller cars are gaining favor. More than 40,000 so-called eco-friendly cars are already on the road. Some 45,000 Mini Coopers were also sold last year. Smaller is growing.

If you’re into food, you know that while there are monster triple burger artery cloggers at some fast food restaurants, sliders, those mini burgers on mini buns, are the major trend this year. Ah, White Castle was ahead of its time. Or, how about lowly cupcakes! They’ve reportedly topped a poll on trends in desserts. Why, they even have their own TV show – Cupcake Wars! So much for the big old layer cake.

But my favorite trend being cited is a major shift to weekend getaways instead of the traditional two-week vacation. According to a recent survey by Expedia, only 10 percent of American workers plan to take the old two-weeker. For boat dealers, this news couldn’t be better. It plays right into one of the strongest selling points our sales teams can make – that owning a boat means a family getaway every weekend, all summer long.

A friend in Ohio recently pointed out that other studies suggest people are likely to stay closer to home instead of traveling distances this year. People will be choosing "staycations" over vacations. Again, the choice to stay close to home presents boat sales opportunities. The suggestion that staying home can mean an exciting family boating staycation all summer long should be prominently displayed in our showrooms. It can be included in e-mails and mentioned in social media. Perhaps an in-store "Staycation Presentation" featuring things to do and places to go with a boat can attract existing customers thinking about moving up as well as drawing new prospects.

"Family Staycations Start Here" – Ask us, we’re experts!