Travel plans not overwhelming, but hotel stays expected according to AHLA

According to a recent study commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), less than half of those surveyed (44 percent) are planning on traveling in 2020.
According to a recent study commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), less than half of those surveyed (44 percent) are planning on traveling in 2020.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – A survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found only 44 percent of those surveyed are planning overnight vacation or leisure travel in 2020.

Those planning to travel have a high interest in road trips, family events, and long weekends over the summer months. Encouragingly, 68 percent of these expectant travelers say they are likely to stay in a hotel in 2020.

Among those planning to travel in 2020, 59 percent expect to take their first overnight trip by the end of the summer. Summer road trips will take center stage, with 72 percent planning an overnight vacation via car over the next five months, as 75 percent of respondents expect to drive two or more hours.

On their next overnight trip, 43 percent plan to stay with family and friends, and 39 percent plan to stay in a hotel; just nine percent plan to stay at a short-term rental, and five percent in a camper or RV. Nearly eight in 10 (78 percent) are planning a trip of four days or less suggesting long-weekend trips will be first vacation travel to return.

Key findings included in the survey include:

  • What kind of travel they are planning: 81 percent expect to take a day trip and 72 percent expect to take an overnight vacation via car within the next five months. The overwhelming majority does not expect to take cruises (14 percent), camper/RV trips (28 percent or vacations via plane (32 percent) in 2020
  • How far they are traveling: Among those planning a vacation by car, 75 percent plan to travel two or more hours, with 40 percent planning to drive more than four hours, and 35 percent two to four hours
  • Where they are staying: On their next overnight trip, 43 percent say they will stay with family or friends, 39 percent in a hotel, nine percent in a short-term rental, and five percent in a camper/RV
  • How long they are staying: Seventy-eight percent are planning trips of four nights or less.
  • Why they are traveling: Fifty-five percent plan to travel for a family event, such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or family reunion; 50 percent plan to travel for Christmas; 43 percent for Thanksgiving; and 30 percent for Labor Day.

About 70 percent of Americans take a vacation in any given year, according to OmniTrak (TNS) data—suggesting that travel is a long way from pre-COVID-19 levels.

“Travel is by no means back yet, but we are encouraged to see people begin to travel as their communities reopen, and we all learn to navigate this new normal,” said AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers. “If you are thinking about traveling in 2020, my message to you is hotels are clean and safe places, and we are ready to welcome you when you are ready to travel. Through our Safe Stay initiative, we have enhanced our already rigorous cleaning protocols to be more transparent and give you even more peace of mind.”

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