WASHINGTON—This summer, most adults are more likely than they were in the summer of 2022 to stay in a hotel and take vacation trips, according to a new national Hotel Booking Index survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and conducted by Morning Consult.
Thinking about the summer ahead, most adults report being more likely than they were in 2022 to stay in a hotel (56 percent) and take more frequent (55 percent) and longer (52 percent) leisure or vacation trips, the survey says.
According to the findings, hotels are the top lodging choice among those planning to travel for business (77 percent) and leisure (54 percent) in the next three months. In addition, 75 percent of business travelers whose jobs involve traveling are likely to do so in the next three months, compared to 53 percent in December 2022/January 2023. Fifty-one percent of adults are likely to travel overnight for leisure in the next three months, compared to 36 percent in December 2022/January 2023.
Survey responses from business travelers indicate that nearly 70 percent of their employers have either returned to the pre-pandemic normal or increased amounts of business travel. This is good news for hoteliers, as business travel is one of hotels’ main sources of revenue.
- Forty-nine percent of business travelers say the average length of business trips is now the same as before the pandemic, while another 22 percent say it’s more than before.
- Forty-seven percent of business travelers say the amount of spending their employer will cover on business trips is now the same as before the pandemic, while another 25 percent say it’s more than before.
- Forty-six percent of business travelers say the share of employees expected or encouraged to travel for work is now the same as before the pandemic, while another 24 percent say it’s more than before.
Based on the survey results, AHLA’s Hotel Booking Index score for the next three months is 7.8/10, or very good. The Hotel Booking Index is a composite score gauging the short-term outlook for the hotel industry. The ten-point score is based on a weighted average of survey respondents’ travel likelihood in the next three months (50 percent), self-reported household financial security (30 percent), and a preference to stay in hotels for travel (20 percent).
The Hotel Booking Index survey of more than 4,100 adults was conducted from April 28–May 3, 2023. Other key findings include:
- Hotels are the most popular lodging choice for those planning to travel overnight for the upcoming holidays Columbus Day (47 percent), Veterans Day (46 percent), Memorial Day (44 percent), Labor Day (43 percent), Father’s Day (42 percent), and Independence Day (40 percent).
- Eighty-six percent of business travelers are interested in “bleisure” travel, with 56 percent indicating they have extended a work trip for leisure purposes—sometimes referred to as “bleisure” travel—in the last year.
- Higher earners, urban adults, and adults ages 35-44 are most likely to be interested in extending a business trip by a day or two for leisure.
- Fifty-three percent of adults are interested in being a digital nomad, including 26 percent who are very interested. Digital nomads work remotely, either full-time or part-time, while traveling to new places.
“Americans are planning more hotel stays and vacations this summer than they did in the summer of 2022, and that is great news for the lodging industry and its employees,” said AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “It’s also encouraging to hear most business travelers report that their employers have either returned to the pre-pandemic normal or increased amounts of business travel. Our industry is getting stronger, but to keep growing we need to hire more than 100,000 people around the country. Fortunately, with average hotel wages at near-record levels, better benefits than ever before, and unprecedented opportunity to move up the ranks, there’s never been a better time to start a hotel career.”
There are more than 100,000 hotel jobs currently open across the nation, and as of March, national average hotel wages were near all-time highs at more than $23 per hour.