Americans’ travel intent remains steady amid economic uncertainties

Though the global economy continues to decide when and how Americans will travel, it does not impact if they will go for a trip, found new research by MMGY Travel Intelligence 

According to the 2022 Portrait of American Travelers “Winter Edition” survey, 58% of American adults plan to take a vacation in the next six months despite inflation, increasing cost of travel and other economic concerns.  

Among those not planning to go on a vacation in the next six months, more than four in 10 weren’t doing so because of concerns about high cost of travel (45%) and their financial conditions (41%). Additionally, 25% said they had limited time available to travel in the immediate future (a significant rise from 9% in July).  

About 58% U.S. adults plan to vacation in the next six months

Key observations include: 

  • Three out of four active leisure travelers consult at least one online travel agency (OTA) regularly when researching their travel options. The primary reason to engage with OTAs, such as Tripadvisor or Expedia, was to compare prices and availability (72% of travelers, up six points from 2021). However, seven in 10 travelers cited concerns about booking with an OTA, including concerns that canceling or re-booking might be more cumbersome than if they had booked directly with a travel service provider (42%). 
  • About 55% active leisure travelers expressed interest in taking a cruise in the next two years, with millennials, those with children and those with higher household incomes showing the most interest.  
  • Brand loyalty saw a marginal drop in importance during the purchase process with only four in 10 travelers characterizing themselves as being loyal to a specific hotel brand (44%) or an airline (45%). Marriott and American Airlines had the highest favor in each category at 57% and 54%, respectively.  

Chris Davidson, EVP of MMGY Travel Intelligence, said the overall outlook for travel was optimistic, particularly regarding international travel, which is projected to increase in 2023. About 25% of American adults who expect to travel in the next six months said they were likely to travel internationally, up from 19% this time in 2021 and the highest percentage seen in the past three years.  

 “The American international traveler is typically a more affluent traveler and is therefore proportionately less impacted by rising costs and inflationary pressures,” said Davidson. “Furthermore, the relative strength of the U.S. dollar and the fact that foreign destinations are increasingly open and welcoming visitors support the notion that international travel will be an area of strength for the travel industry economy in 2023.”   

The Portrait of American Travelers studies the intentions, preferences and behaviors of more than 4,500 U.S. adults on a quarterly basis. The survey is now in its 32nd year.  

The travel trend information presented in the winter edition was obtained from interviews with 4,529 U.S. adults in October featuring data from four generations: Gen Zs (18–23), millennials (24–39), Gen Xers (40–55) and boomers (56–74). The silent/GI generation (75+) was also surveyed, but results were not broken out for this generation due to a small respondent sample size. This is the last of four quarterly reports to be released this year.