U.S. Traveler Intentions Hold Steady for 2023 Despite Growing Economic Challenges

According to new data by MMGY Travel Intelligence, six in 10 U.S. adults (58 percent) plan to take a vacation in the next six months despite inflation, the rising cost of travel and other economic factors. The findings were released as part of the research firm’s 2022 "Portrait of American Travelers Winter Edition” survey, which examines the intentions, preferences and behaviors of more than 4,500 U.S. adults on a quarterly basis. 

Among those not planning to vacation in the next six months, more than four in 10 aren’t doing so because of concerns about the high cost of travel (45 percent) and their financial situation (41 percent). In addition, 25 percent expressed having limited time available to travel in the immediate future (up significantly from 9 percent in July). 

That said, the overall outlook for travel is generally quite optimistic according to Chris Davidson, EVP of MMGY Travel Intelligence—particularly in regards to international travel, which is expected to ramp up in 2023. In fact, 25 percent of U.S. adults who expect to travel in the next six months shared that they’re likely to travel internationally—up from 19 percent this same time last year, 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.”

Other key observations from the Portrait of American Travelers “Winter Edition” include: 

Three-quarters of active leisure travelers consult at least one online travel agency (OTA) on a regular basis when researching their travel. The predominant reason cited for engaging with an OTA like Expedia or Tripadvisor is to compare prices and availability (72 percent of travelers, up six points from 2021). It's worth noting, however, that seven in 10 travelers cite concerns about booking with an OTA, including concerns that canceling or rebooking may be more difficult than if they had booked directly with the travel service provider (42 percent).

In a positive sign for the cruise industry, which was greatly impacted by the pandemic, more than half of active leisure travelers (55 percent) expressed interest in taking a cruise in the next two years—with Millennials, those with children and those with higher household incomes displaying the most interest. 

Brand loyalty has diminished slightly in its importance during the purchase process with only four in 10 travelers characterizing themselves as being loyal to a hotel brand (44 percent) or an airline (45 percent). Marriott and American Airlines carry the highest favor in each category at 57 percent and 54 percent, respectively. 

For more insights from the "2022 Portrait of American Travelers Winter Edition,” visit mmgyintel.com

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