Hotels will continue to see a strong holiday season this year, driven by an increase in business travel, a new study has revealed.
According to a survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and conducted by Morning Consult, the strong business outlook for the rest of the year is driven by a healthy preference for hotels among both business and leisure travelers.
Most Americans (68%) whose work involves travel said they were likely to travel overnight for business in the last three months of this year, up from 59% in 2022. Hotels emerged as the top accommodation option among 81% of the business travelers surveyed.
About 32% of Americans said they were likely to travel overnight for Thanksgiving, up from 28% in 2022, while 34% were likely to travel overnight for Christmas, rising by 31% from last year.
About 37% of the respondents said they were likely to travel overnight for leisure in the last three months of the year, marginally slipping from 39% in 2022.
Travel attitudes seem to have returned to post-pandemic standards, the study found, with 71% stating that their chance of staying in hotels was the same as before the pandemic. Around 70% of business travelers said their employers have returned to the pre-pandemic level or increased business travel frequency.
This comes as welcome news for hoteliers, as business travel contributes to one of the hotels’ main revenues.
Other key findings include:
- About 55% of respondents planning to travel overnight for leisure in the last three months of 2023 intend to stay in a hotel.
- Close to 45% said they were more likely to stay in a hotel this holiday season than in 2022.
- About 44% said they were likely to go on more leisure/vacations this holiday season than last year.
- Most Americans (59%) intending to travel overnight for Thanksgiving plan to stay with family or friends, while 30% plan to stay at a hotel.
- The majority of the respondents (62%) planning to travel overnight for Christmas plan to stay with family or friends, while 26% opt to stay at a hotel.
Hotels are going above and beyond to take excellent care of guests as travel approaches pre-COVID levels, and this survey underscores that fact, AHLA said.
“America’s nearly 62,500 hotels are a bright spot for the nation’s economy. To continue growing, they need to hire more people, but a nationwide shortage of workers is preventing hotels from regaining all the jobs we lost to the pandemic. There are several steps Congress can take to help address our industry’s workforce challenges. Those include establishing an H-2B returning worker exemption, passing the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act, and passing the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO.
The survey was conducted between September 18 and 23 on 4,0006 adults.
Citing a survey by Indeed, AHLA said there were close to 85,000 hotel jobs currently open in the U.S. As of September, there were 9.6 million job openings but only 6.4 million unemployed people to fill them, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As of September, the national average hotel wages were $23.36/hour.