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Guest Editorial by the American Hotel & Lodging Association
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%), take more frequent (55%) and longer (52%) 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%) and leisure (54%) in the next three months. In addition, 75% of business travelers whose jobs involve traveling are likely to do so in the next three months, compared to 53% 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% in December 2022/January 2023.
Survey responses from business travelers indicate that nearly 70% of their employers have either returned to the prepandemic normal or increased amounts of business travel. This is good news for hoteliers, as business travel is one of hotels’ main sources of revenue.
√ 49% of business travelers say the average length of business trips is now the same as before the pandemic, while another 22% say it’s more than before.
√ 47% 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% say it’s more than before.
√ 46% 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% 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 10-point score is based on a weighted average of survey respondents’ travel likelihood in the next three months (50%), self-reported household financial security (30%), and a preference to stay in hotels for travel (20%).
The Hotel Booking Index survey of more than 4,100 adults was conducted 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%), Veterans Day (46%), Memorial Day (44%), Labor Day (43%), Father’s Day (42%) and Independence Day (40%).
√ 86% of business travelers are interested in “bleisure” travel, with 56% 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.
√ 53% of adults are interested in being a digital nomad, including 26% 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 prepandemic 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.
To help hotels fill open jobs and raise awareness of the hotel industry’s 200-plus career pathways, the AHLA Foundation’s “A Place to Stay” multichannel advertising campaign is now active in 20 cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, Tampa, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington, Seattle and Boston. For more info on the campaign, visit thehotelindustry.com. Download a Hotel Booking Index overview here.
Morning Consult Survey Methodology
The survey by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA was conducted April 28–May 3, 2023, among 4,117 U.S. adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, age, race, educational attainment, and region. Topline results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest hotel association in America, representing more than 30,000 members from all segments of the industry nationwide – including iconic global brands, 80% of all franchised hotels, and the 16 largest hotel companies in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. Learn more at ahla.com.