The intention to travel remains strong, according to the new travelhorizons survey of 2,300 adults by MMGY Global. Six out of ten adults (61 percent) surveyed in July 2015 plan to take at least one overnight leisure trip during the next six months, unchanged from the robust level recorded during the comparable period in 2014. Travel intentions have been rising since the end of 2013, MMGY said.
The survey also revealed that satisfaction with cruising has reached an all-time high, despite recent negative publicity about safety and hygiene-related issues.
Perceived Affordability of Travel Improves
The overall Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI), a measure that derives from U.S. adults’ interest in travel, time for travel, personal finances available for travel, affordability of travel, quality of service, and safety of travel, now stands at 111, up three points from the same time one year ago (108), and just six points below the record 117 reported in February 2015.
Reflecting consumers’ more positive outlook on their personal financial situation today versus one year ago, the perceived affordability of travel (169) displayed the largest increase from the same period in 2014 – up 38 points – while personal finances available for travel (115) and interest in travel (106) also increased. Time available for travel (106), quality of service (114) and the perceived safety of travel (95) remained relatively unchanged from one year ago.
Intentions to Travel Alone on the Rise
Among respondents who indicated they will take at least one overnight leisure trip during the next six months, fully one out of four (25 percent) intend to take at least one vacation by themselves, up from 23 percent in 2014. This intention is particularly pronounced among Millennials: Fully thirty-seven (37) percent intend to take at least one overnight leisure trip alone, up significantly from the levels recorded in both July 2014 (32 percent) and July 2013 (29 percent). By comparison, only 17 percent of Gen Xers, 19 percent of Boomers and 18 percent of Matures plan to take at least one leisure trip alone during the next six months. While all solo travelers (regardless of age) say their reason for doing so is ‘they are free to set their own itinerary,’ Millennials are significantly more likely than Boomers and Matures to travel alone for ‘the adventure’ (38 percent) and ‘to learn about themselves’ (26 percent).
Most travelers (56 percent) who intend to travel alone plan to do so in the U.S., while two in ten (18 percent) plan to visit an international destination.
Cruise Satisfaction at All-Time High
The Traveler Satisfaction Index tracks changes in customer satisfaction among four categories of travel service providers: airlines, lodging companies, rental car companies and cruise lines. Compared to one year ago, satisfaction with all travel service providers has improved significantly, continuing a trend that first became evident in the spring of 2013. Given the 14-point increase observed during this most recent wave, satisfaction with cruising (146) is now at the highest level recorded since the commencement of the travelhorizons survey in 2007. Satisfaction with airlines (114) is up eight points, and satisfaction with lodging (126) and rental car companies (124) both increased six points.
Business Travelers Plan to Travel More
Twenty-eight (28) percent of U.S. adults expect to take at least one overnight business trip during the next six months, the same percentage observed during the comparable period one year ago; however, those who plan to travel for business expect to take significantly more trips: an average of 3.4, well above the 2.7 reported during Wave III 2014.