KANSAS CITY—With seasons changing and summer vacations drawing near, the United States’ appetite for travel continues to grow. According to a new study by MMGY Travel Intelligence, 73 percent of U.S. travelers intend to take a vacation in the next six months, up significantly from 62 percent one year ago. This is just one of the key findings released this week as part of the research firm’s 2022 Portrait of American Travelers “Spring Edition” survey.
Sharing data collected in February from more than 4,500 respondents, the report examines the demographics, intentions, behaviors, and safety perceptions among U.S. travelers.
“Overall, we anticipate that 2022 will be seen as a year of continued growth for the travel industry, with many Americans opting to ‘go big’ with their travels after playing it more conservative the last few years,” said Chris Davidson, executive vice president of MMGY Travel Intelligence. “Inflation and the recent increase in gas prices may mean that travelers choose to venture a bit closer to home or alter their spending slightly, but the demand for travel is palpable.”
Key findings from the Portrait of American Travelers “Spring Edition” include:
- For the majority of U.S. travelers, COVID-19 is no longer a barrier to travel. Moreover, the percentage of vaccinated travelers continues to increase, with 69 percent of active leisure travelers sharing that they have already received the vaccine—up 4 percentage points from the latest survey in October. Travelers indicating that they will not get the vaccine remains constant at 16 percent.
- Among all age groups, younger generations intend to vacation most during the next 12 months, with Gen Zs and Millennials leading the way with an average of 5.0 and 4.1 trips planned respectively.
- Conversely, older generations intend to invest more on their vacations, with Boomers planning to spend an average of $1,142 per trip. Gen X was the next closest generation at $670 total per trip.
- In the growing trend of solo travel, one in four U.S. travelers plans to take a trip alone in the next six months. U.S. destinations over-indexing in appeal to solo travelers include three cities in California—Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Anaheim—along with Chicago, Atlanta, Ann Arbor, and Kansas City.
In addition to overall traveler preferences and future intent, the “Spring Edition” report also explored three special topics—travel information sources, lodging, and sustainability. The study concluded that:
- Travelers report using fewer sources for ideas and inspiration in 2022 than they did in 2021, seeking out 4.7 sources on average. The advice of friends and family is the top source for ideas and inspiration across all generations, but beyond that, the sources considered vary greatly by age. The use of online travel agencies (OTAs) decreased significantly compared to last year, dropping from 24 percent to 19 percent.
- The study also determined that hotel cleanliness standards are now just as important as room rate and free breakfast in how travelers choose their accommodations. As lodging brands work to differentiate themselves and compete for a traveler’s dollar, cleanliness could be seen as a new measure of luxury, particularly in regard to property air filtration, cleaning protocols, and other areas of health and safety that could drive guest loyalty and shift market share.
- Finally, in regard to sustainability, six in 10 travelers are willing to pay more for travel providers who demonstrate a commitment to environmental responsibility. Moreover, 81 percent of active leisure travelers indicate that they are willing to change their travel behaviors to reduce the overall impact on the environment—a notion supported by the majority of travelers in each generation (Gen Zs at 89 percent, Millennials at 90 percent, Gen Xers at 79 percent, and Boomers at 72 percent).
Overall, the study communicates continued strength and optimism in the domestic leisure travel segment. On March 4, MMGY Travel Intelligence released the findings of a separate study measuring the impact of the war in Ukraine on European travel intentions. The study concluded that 47 percent of U.S. travelers considering a vacation to Europe will wait to see how the situation evolves before they make any plans. The potential for the conflict to spread to other nearby countries was listed as the primary concern by 62 percent of respondents.