Travel has taken a one-two punch over the last year with fewer people traveling (-11 percent), and those who did travel spending less (-15 percent), according to PhoCusWright's authoritative Consumer Travel Report Second Edition. Recovery will be restrained, the research firm says in a new report that explores key trends and indicators impacting consumer travel in the U.S.
"As travelers look ahead to the second half of 2010 and beyond, the general sentiment is clearly more positive than it was in 2009," PhoCusWright says. "Recovery has technically begun; but most travel companies still are not feeling much relief."
Among the most significant U.S. consumer traveler trends reported in the study:
* Not only did fewer people travel (-11 percent), but those who did travel spent less (-15 percent).
* While fewer consumers plan to pull back on their travel in 2010, the percentage of those who plan to travel more has not increased.
* Even though travelers took fewer trips in 2009 compared to 2008, the trips they took were longer; trips of four nights or longer accounted for 59 percent of all trips in 2009.
* Older consumers (45+) pulled back on travel earlier than younger travelers, and were less likely to travel in general.
* Younger travelers (under age 35) showed larger year-over-year declines in travel spend than older travelers, and their optimism about travel intentions has sobered.
* However, they still had a significantly higher incidence of travel than older travelers.
* The number of sites used across the destination selection, shopping and booking phases has decreased slightly from 2008.
* Online travel agencies (OTAs) gained share among hotel bookers, but not so much with air.
* Bigger-spend travelers are more likely to patronize upscale and luxury hotels than lower-spend travelers, but they are also almost as likely to stay in midscale hotels.