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Expedia Study: Recession Did Not Impact Forty Percent of Americans' Travel

March 5, 2012 By: George Dooley Travel Agent

41 percent of Americans – and nearly 1 in 2 men (49 percent) – have driven across the United States at one point. Just under one in four Americans (23 percent), and one in three students (31 percent) are “at least somewhat likely” to travel internationally in the next year, according to a new Expedia research study that outlines the economic impact on travel in America.  

Forty percent of Americans report the economic downturn over the past few years did not impact their personal/leisure travel. They “travel as usual,” particularly those between 35 and 44 years of age (46 percent). A percentage of young men (13 percent) and women (14 percent) aged 18 -34 are taking more trips these days, perhaps because a down economy prompts travel destinations to sweeten deals, Expedia reports.
“This study, combined with our own data, tells us a lot about how Americans are traveling in today’s economy. Our data shows that even though Americans are taking fewer flights, they are booking more hotel nights. We believe that Americans are proving to be resilient in a down economy, by driving instead of flying and taking more frequent, shorter trips,” said Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager,

“The study also showed how important friends and family were to the travel experience. Friends and family were the most important resource when choosing a hotel. Social networks are enabling new reach when seeking advice on travel, and we are thrilled to be able to help share that knowledge,” Megibow said.
Eighty-one percent of Americans have visited at least one of twelve major U.S. landmarks in their travels. Approximately one third of people have visited the National Mall in Washington DC, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canyon, while approximately one in four have visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Route 66, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Alamo.
The study tracks American attitudes in today’s economy as they relate to domestic travel, international travel, hotel selection criteria and social media. The American Traveler survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia from February 16-20, 2012 among 2,262 adults ages 18 and older.

Expedia’s American Traveler study also found that:
Social media keeps travelers connected.
    •    75 percent of those who travel use social media.
    •    51 percent of those users do so to stay connected while on a trip regularly or periodically.
    •    18 – 44 year olds are more likely than those aged 45 or older to use social media sites to connect with others during trip.
For some American families, social media is connection enough.
    •    12 percent of Americans say they are less likely to visit their family in person thanks to social media, while 25 percent say they are more likely to visit family in person.
    •    Among those who use Feedback to connect with family members, younger adults aged 18 – 34 (22 percent) and those living in the West (22 percent) are significantly more likely to indicate that they are less likely to visit family.
78 percent of Americans rely on reviews to provide direction when selecting a hotel.
    •    The primary review source is friends and family (51 percent).
    •    A slightly higher percentage cited friends (44 percent) than cited family (40 percent).
    •    The hotel’s own web site is the second-most important source of reviews (47 percent).
Men are more likely to have ever driven cross-country than women (49 percent compared to 34 percent).
    •    Both genders still dream of the open road: 25 percent of men and 33 percent of women have “not done so but always wanted to” drive across the country.
    •    Westerners are more adventurous, with 57 percent having made the cross-country vehicle journey, significantly higher than those in the Northeast (31 percent).
13 percent report having purchased travel via a “flash sale”.
    •    Young adults aged 18 -34 (24 percent) and those living in the West (21 percent) were most likely than their counterparts to have done so.

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About the Author

George Dooley
George Dooley, Travel Agent’s senior contributing editor covering retail and technology, has a long-standing reputation as one of the top travel industry journalists. He notes...

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By George Dooley | March 5, 2012
The American Traveler survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia from February 16-20, 2012 among 2,262 adults ages 18 and older.
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