Photo by Nick Wong

With travel and tourism continuing to grow at a solid clip, the future looks bright for the hotel industry. But while numbers are strong, the way people travel and where they travel to continues to change dramatically. To better prepare for the future and reap the rewards, it’s important for hoteliers to understand the motivation behind consumers’ travel intentions.

A recent survey produced in the U.S. by MMGY Travel Intelligence, MMGY Global’s research-and-insights company, uncovered several interesting findings as part of its 2019 Portrait of American Travelers survey. The results “paint a picture of rapidly changing priorities amongst travellers, driven by growing concerns over safety, the quick adoption of the new sharing economy and a more conscientious approach to travel. The world is changing quickly and, as a result, how and why Americans travel is, too.”

While priorities are being reassessed, American travellers intend to spend about the same on travel in 2019 ($5,025) as they spent in 2018 ($5,038). And while they plan to take slightly fewer vacations, travellers anticipate spending 17-per-cent more than they did this time last year, partly a reflection of a shift in the age of those most likely to travel in the coming year.

The study points out that travellers are being influenced by more choices and information and that complex motivations are impacting how, why and where people travel. They’re also concerned with tourism overcrowding, climate change and its impact on destinations and how travel-service providers demonstrate responsibility in addressing these new challenges.

Sustainability continues to rank high on travellers’ list of concerns, with 13 per cent of American travellers indicating they’ve selected a travel-service provider based on perceptions of sustainability and environmental considerations during the past 12 months — up from eight per cent in 2018, with millennial families driving this increase.

As disruption continues to dramatically change the landscape, the sharing economy promises to further alter the travel industry. The percentage of American travellers using sharing-economy accommodations increased 45 per cent over the last year, from 20 per cent to 29 per cent. An increase is expected again in the year ahead, with 34 per cent of respondents saying they’re likely to use sharing accommodations during a future vacation, drawn by cost and the allure of staying somewhere unique.

Not surprisingly, safety continues to be an important factor for travellers when choosing destinations to visit, as well as deciding whether or not to travel internationally. In fact, cost and safety are the two most-significant barriers to international travel (both short-
and long-haul travel) for Americans.


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