Insights From This Fall’s Portrait of American Travelers

Insights From This Fall's Portrait of American Travelers

traveler is sitting on stone stairs at town street (Photo via Maryna Andriichenko / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

New research released by MMGY Travel Intelligence as part of its 2022 Portrait of American Travelers “Fall Edition” survey reveals that inflation and the rising cost of travel are leading some Americans to stay home this year.

However, Baby Boomers and higher-income households plan to increase their leisure travel spending over the next year, the latest data shows. The aforementioned study examines the intentions and behaviors of more than 4,500 adult survey respondents.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. travelers (63 percent) intend to take a vacation in the next six months, which marks a 10-point decrease compared to the same time last year. Among those not planning to vacation in the coming months, nearly four out of 10 cited concerns about their current financial situation or the rising cost of travel as a primary reason.

Nonetheless, those who do plan to travel for leisure in the next 12 months say they will spend significantly more on their vacations compared to those who were surveyed this time last year, with average spending climbing to $3,785 from $2,758 in 2021.

“With these factors in mind, we’re predicting that overall leisure travel volume may decrease somewhat in 2023 while prices will likely increase,” Chris Davidson, EVP of MMGY Travel Intelligence, said in a statement. “From a hospitality perspective, we expect leisure occupancy to decrease while average daily rate (ADR) increases modestly. As a result, we’re anticipating a slight increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) on a year-over-year basis in 2023.”

Other important insights include that fewer U.S. adults are planning to travel this holiday season compared to last year, with the likelihood down from 42 percent in 2021 to 36 percent this year. Regardless, the holiday travel season promises to remain extremely busy this year, experts predict.

Foodie culture is also playing a larger role in the industry, the study shows, with culinary experiences being a high priority and disproportionately so for younger travelers. Nearly six out of 10 Gen Zs (56 percent) and Millennials (61 percent) are influenced by the quality of the culinary scene when choosing where to stay in a particular destination.

Insights From This Fall's Portrait of American Travelers

Hot roasted pork sandwich at Copper Penny in Wilmington, North Carolina. (photo by Patrick Clarke)

Regardless of wealth, respondents in these age groups were found to generally value authentic local food and beverage experiences significantly more so than traditional fine-dining experiences.

Social media remains key when it comes to travel planning, especially among younger generations. After all, four in 10 Millennials indicate celebrities and digital content creators have a significant influence on their travel decisions (38 percent). Additionally, nearly six in 10 Millennials have made a travel purchase based at least partially on a post by a celebrity or influencer (57 percent).

Earlier research from the MMGY’s 2022 Portrait of American International Travelers presented in collaboration with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) found that international travel will increase among affluent Americans over the next year, with high-earning U.S. households anticipating taking 3.8 international vacations in the next 12 months.

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