Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has finally begun to loosen its grip on society. That’s been good news for the travel industry, obviously. Comfort resuming most activities, including travel, has been mostly high and steady since Spring 2022. Over the past few months, plans to travel have generally increased alongside feelings of comfort about the pandemic, and since 2020 comfort traveling has increased across all age groups. For many Americans, concerns about COVID-19 are no longer a major factor in making travel decisions.
Although general reluctance to travel is down, there’s no ignoring the threat that inflation poses to consumers’ travel plans. In fact, in Q2 2022, when consumer expectations about finances began to worsen, the major driving force behind travel plans switched from comfort and concern about COVID-19 to cost. Since then, plans to travel in the next month have been more closely aligned with concerns about finances than with concerns about COVID-19. Moreover, concern about inflation is strongly linked with anticipated spending cuts to travel.
Compared to the general population, younger adults (18-24) are more likely to say they are planning various types of travel this year, from trips centered around learning & wellness to vacations with large groups of friends and family.
Regarding accommodations, roughly two-thirds of US adults say they have stayed in hotel chains while traveling in the last six months. International travelers and parents of young children were more likely to stay in private accommodations, such as Airbnb, while eco-friendly lodgers were more likely to stay in boutique hotels, such as Ace.
As barriers to travel shift from concerns about safety to concerns about finances and environmental sustainability, industry leaders will need insight into not only the demographic but also the psychographic attributes that signify the importance of travel to consumers. After all, demographics are merely convenient ways to group consumers. But it’s our interests, opinions, and beliefs that define who we are as individuals and members of social groups.