6 minute read 5 Aug 2022
Smiling concierge helping hotel guests

Why consumer travel sentiments are good news for hospitality industry

By Umar Riaz

EY Americas Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction Consulting Leader and EY Americas Hospitality Sector Leader

Transformation agent. Innovative thinker. Real estate and hospitality professional . Leveraging technology to drive transformation.

6 minute read 5 Aug 2022

There are sunny skies for the travel and hospitality industry, but economic clouds are gathering.

In brief

  • Travel and hospitality companies are seeing returns on the investments they made during the pandemic.
  • Americans have a strong desire for leisure travel.

Americans’ travel outlook for the months ahead is good news for the travel and hospitality industry. At a time when consumers are experiencing economic concerns, including gas prices, the risk of inflation and higher interest rates, many Americans are still accelerating their travel plans. 

US travelers are on the move

The EY 2022 Hospitality Survey of 200 consumers across all ages and income levels found that approximately 89% of respondents are taking at least one leisure trip in 2022, with 24% planning to take three or more trips for recreation. Sixty-nine percent of those planning travel before the end of the year are doing so in the US. Plans for international leisure travel in that same time frame is much lower among those age 30 and over (approximately 6.5% of respondents in this age range), but increases significantly among those age 18 to 29 with 24% planning international travel.  

89%

of respondents are taking at least one leisure trip in 2022, and hotels remain the top choice for lodging.

Hotels remain the top choice for lodging

The EY survey found 60% of travelers plan to stay in a hotel over alternative lodging options, and the changes implemented during the pandemic have had a positive impact. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents cited COVID-19 protocols and cleanliness programs as important, and 64% consider the provision of a touchless experience important when choosing a hotel. When looking at the impact of COVID-19 on hotel chain brand loyalty, age once again makes a difference: 13.5% of those age 50 and older and 23.5% of those age 30 to 49 indicated increased brand loyalty. However, those age 18 to 29 felt a much greater impact, with 50% indicating increased loyalty because of COVID-19 and the subsequent actions taken by hotel brands. 

Economic concerns and reduced business travel continue to loom

The price of gas remains the top obstacle to booking travel across all demographics (53%), followed by trying to save money (36%) and concerns over the economy (30%). As Americans increasingly face economic uncertainty in their lives, they still possess a strong desire for leisure travel. Conversely, the shift toward hybrid working environments is reflected by 51% of employed respondents indicating they had no plans to travel for business in the next six months. 

While the pandemic required the hospitality industry to adapt quickly, companies are seeing a return on investments made over the past two years. Those who capitalize on the current enthusiasm for travel and continue to address differing needs among age groups will be better positioned to ride out any economic storms that may arise.

Summary

Despite economic concerns, many Americans are still moving ahead with their travel plans.

About this article

By Umar Riaz

EY Americas Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction Consulting Leader and EY Americas Hospitality Sector Leader

Transformation agent. Innovative thinker. Real estate and hospitality professional . Leveraging technology to drive transformation.