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Survey: Travel resuming, but only 44% of Americans plan trips in 2020

Long weekends popular among would-be travelers, 68% likely to stay in a hotel

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2020) — A survey conducted by Morning Consult commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that only 44% of Americans are planning overnight vacation or leisure travel in 2020, with high interest in road trips, family events, and long weekends over the summer months. Encouragingly, 68% of these expectant travelers say they are likely to stay in a hotel in 2020.

Among Americans planning to travel in 2020, 59% expect to take their first overnight trip by the end of the summer. Summer road trips will take center stage, with 72% planning an overnight vacation via car over the next five months. Of these, 75 percent 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 such as Airbnb or VRBO, and five percent in a camper or RV. Nearly eight in ten (78%) are planning a trip of four days or less suggesting long-weekend trips will be first vacation travel to return.

Key findings among those planning to travel in 2020:

Kind of travel they’re planning: 81% expect to take a day trip and 72% expect to take an overnight vacation via car within the next five months. The overwhelming majority do not expect to take cruises (14%), camper/RV trips (28%), or vacations via plane (32%) in 2020.
How far they’re traveling: Among those planning a vacation via car, 75% plan to travel two or more hours (40% plan to drive more than four hours, and 35% plan to drive two to four hours).
• Where they’re staying: On their next overnight trip, 43% say they will stay with family or friends, 39% in a hotel, 9% in a short-term rental, and 5% in a camper/RV.
• How long they’re staying: 78% are planning trips of four nights or less.
• Why they’re traveling: 55% plan to travel for a family event, such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or family reunion; 50% plan to travel for Christmas, 43% for Thanksgiving, 33% for 4th of July, and 30% for Labor Day.

About 70% 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 Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “If you are thinking about traveling in 2020, my message to you is that hotels are clean and safe places, and we are ready to welcome you when you’re ready to travel. Through our Safe Stay initiative, we’ve enhanced our already rigorous cleaning protocols to be more transparent and give you even more peace of mind.”

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