BILLINGS, MT, July 10, 2014 – Travel companies must turn on a dime faster than ever these days. A leading multisport tour operator Austin Adventures reports that summer bookings that once averaged 40-60 days in advance of departure are now coming in under 30 days or fewer this season.

“Because people are planning summer vacations at the 11th hour it takes all of our skill and connections to be able to pull it off,” reports Dan Austin, president and founder. “Where can I go next week? is becoming the new norm.”

Last summer, Austin reported that just 6 percent of all bookings took place within 30 days of departure. This year that segment of business is predicted to double to over 12 percent.

Austin thinks that this past hard winter and cool, wet spring effected how folks planned – or didn’t – for their summer vacations. Many didn’t get away in the first half of the year but he sees pent-up demand now for the annual summer escape.

“The air deals for summer are also finally here and families have sorted out their children’s complicated schedules,” he adds.

“In accommodating the demand, it doesn’t hurt to have good connections either,” added Austin. His company became part of the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® family last year, a fact which also aids in accommodating last minute space requests, as Xanterra is the largest concessionaire in America’s National Parks.

“This partnership brings access to hard-to-get hotel rooms, off-the-tourist-track itineraries and access to local specialists whose expertise adds unique perspective to our national park travel experiences,” Austin notes.

“We seem to thrive when faced with a good challenge,” states Austin. “For example, just last week we had a guest call up on the Monday she returned home from our Montana Adventure and asked us to create a special “custom” western experience for her children and their grandparents – next week!  She wanted the grandparents to experience what the family just did.  Needless to say getting rooms in Yellowstone or Jackson can be a bit tough, but we did it and the grandparents and grandkids are currently exploring Grand Teton National Park after spending the last few days in Yellowstone.”

Austin reports that this client is also booking a custom trip in Yellowstone in September for her office staff. “We are thrilled because with this much notice, September is easy!”

Word of mouth recommendations from family and friends still is the company’s best advertising. Austin points out that 28% of all Austin Adventures Travelers are direct referrals from past guests.

Taking the risk out of booking is another factor that helps encourage last minute reservations. Austin Adventures, throughout its history, has offered a guarantee of satisfaction which is among the industry’s best. It simply states: “If we fail to meet your expectations and are unable to resolve a matter to your satisfaction during your trip, we’ll refund up to the full amount you paid to Austin Adventures.”

Whether guests want to explore the granite spires and soaring redwoods of Yosemite, take the kids kayaking through Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula or discover all of the incredible wildlife and geothermal features of Yellowstone, last minute space is still available for the following six-day/five-night vacations (and others – call 800.575.1540):

Yellowstone Family: The rate is from $2,298 per person double ($1,838 and up for children). This adventure spirits guests away from crowds into back country where elk, bison and bear freely roam. Horseback riding and rafting the Yellowstone River promise family bonding moments. Guests enjoy accommodations at four distinctive lodges.

Montana Family:  Big Sky, Yellowstone, Paradise Valley: Guests are immersed in the majesty of Montana. The per person double rate is $2,398 ($1,918 and up for children). This adventure that accommodates guests at a guest ranch, Yellowstone Lake Lodge, and Chico Hot Springs Resort features hiking, biking, horseback riding and rafting. See:

Yosemite Family:  During this immersion guests begin to understand Yosemite’s lore as they stand at the base of a tumbling 2,425ft waterfall, under a soaring 8,842ft granite dome and witness a 3,000-year-old giant sequoia. John Muir’s experience will become theirs too: “by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” Rappelling is a highlight of this trip. The per person double rate is $3,298 ($2,638 and up for children). Accommodations include the iconic Yosemite Lodge. See:

Alaska Family: Guests explore the Kenai Peninsula at a comfortable pace by train, small ship, sea kayak, mountain bike and on foot while enjoying the hospitality of three distinct lodges. Wild, pristine and blessed with an abundance of astounding scenery and wildlife, the wonders of Alaska amaze explorers of all ages. The rate is $3,198 per person, double ($2,558 and up for children). See:

For a comprehensive 2014 catalog, call toll-free 1.800.575.1540, or e-mail To review current trips, schedules and itineraries log onto:

About Austin Adventures
For over 40 years Austin Adventures (formerly Austin-Lehman Adventures) has provided adventure vacations, now on six continents, building an international reputation for small group active travel to destinations in The Americas, Europe, Africa and Antarctica. Its specialty is adult adventure (multi-sport), family, biking, hiking and small ship cruising adventures, all focused on history, culture and nature’s gifts. Small group trips feature exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations and all-inclusive rates and services. In addition to scheduled group departures, Austin Adventures offers customized trip planning and a money-back satisfaction guarantee. The company’s Vice President of Operations, Kasey Austin, was singled out by editors of OUTSIDE Magazine as the world’s top Family Guide for 2014.

In September 2013 Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings. Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks and resorts as well as a cruise line, railway and tour operator. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz., and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, AZ.; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations and Austin Adventures.

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Contact Widness & Wiggins PR for photos, interviews and more information:
Sara Widness / 802-234-6704 /
Dave Wiggins / 303-554-8821 /
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