More than two years into the pandemic, Americans report that gas prices and inflation will impact their summer travel decisions more than concerns about COVID-19, according to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer travel season, a traditionally busy time for the hotel industry. And this year, nearly seven in ten Americans (69%) report being likely to travel this summer, with 60% saying they are likely to take more vacations this year compared to 2020-21.
New concerns about gas prices and inflation, however, are impacting Americans’ travel plans in a variety of ways. Majorities say they are likely to take fewer leisure trips (57%) and shorter trips (54%) due to current gas prices, while 44% are likely to postpone trips, and 33% are likely to cancel with no plans to reschedule. 82% say gas prices will have at least some impact on their travel destination(s).
The survey of 2,210 adults was conducted May 18-22, 2022. Other key findings include:
- 68% of Americans agree they have a greater appreciation for travel because of missed experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic
- 57% are planning a family vacation this summer, a majority of which plan to stay in a hotel
- 46% are likely to travel overnight for a family event such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or family reunion
- 25% are likely to travel for Memorial Day; 32% for 4th of July; and 27% for Labor Day
- 60% say they are likely to take more vacations this year compared to 2020-21
- 60% are likely to attend more indoor gatherings
- 57% are likely to take longer vacations
- 56% are likely to take trips to farther-away destinations
- 90% say gas prices are a consideration in deciding whether to travel in the next three months (50% major consideration, 23% moderate consideration, 17% slight consideration, 10% not a consideration)
- 82% say gas prices will have at least some impact on their travel destination(s) (37% major impact, 29% moderate impact, 16% slight impact, 17% no impact)
- Due to current gas prices, 57% are likely to take fewer leisure trips, 54% are likely to take shorter leisure trips, 44% are likely to postpone trips, and 33% are likely to cancel with no plans to reschedule
- 90% say inflation is a consideration in deciding whether to travel in the next three months (39% major consideration, 31% moderate consideration, 20% slight consideration, 10% not a consideration)
- 78% of Americans say that COVID-19 infection rates are a consideration in deciding whether to travel this summer (33% major consideration, 23% moderate consideration, 22% slight consideration, 22% not a consideration)
“The pandemic has instilled in most people a greater appreciation for travel, and that’s reflected in the plans Americans are making to get out and about this summer. But just as COVID’s negative impact on travel is starting to wane, a new set of challenges is emerging in the form of historic inflation and record high gas prices. We will be keeping a close eye on these issues and urging Congress and the administration to do the same in order to help ensure they don’t negatively impact hotels’ continued pandemic recovery,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.
AHLA recently relaunched its Hospitality is Working campaign with a focus on reigniting travel across the nation and highlighting hotels’ positive economic impact in cities across the country. With travel ramping back up, hotels have embarked on an unprecedented hiring spree to recruit hundreds of thousands of workers for more than 200 hotel career pathways.