NEW YORK, November 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ —
- Travel continues to grow: About half (48%) of Americans intend to travel this holiday season. Intent to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January increases across all age and income groups with an average holiday budget of 2725 dollars.
- More than half (56%) of tourists plan to stay in hotelsan increase of 35% in 2022.
- Boomers are returning to travel with a bang, as they form almost a third of those who plan to take to the roads and skies; they made up just a fifth of the holiday 2022 traveling public.
- Citing the improved financial situation, younger generations plan to increase travel budgets this holiday season 1 in 4 in Gen Z saying they will increase their budgets significantly, the highest part of each generation. Twenty-two percent of millennials also plan to significantly increase their vacation travel budget this season.
- Laptop bearings continue to be an integral part of leisure travel; for this holiday season they plan to travel more often and take longer trips.
Why this matters
Americans are ready to travel for the holidays. For the third consecutive year, Deloitte examines travel intentions ahead of the key holiday season and the overall impact on the travel industry. According to this year’s report, “Deloitte Study on Vacation Travel in 2023“, health concerns and travel delays are diminishing as consumers across income groups plan trips to make this holiday season one to remember.
Holiday trips are starting again
Nearly half (48%) of Americans intend to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January, with a larger share taking trips outside of visiting family and friends. A desire to preserve tradition may convince travelers to pack, even as many consider how often and for how long they will be leaving this season.
- Although more Americans intend to travel, they will take fewer trips (1.88 in 2023 vs. 2.01 in 2022) that are shorter in duration (75% say their longest trip will last a week or less vs. 69% in 2022) but plan to spend more this year (2725 dollars in 2023). With fewer trips planned, trips are concentrated around two major holidays: Thanksgiving through late November (33%) and Christmas through New Year’s (27%). Trips get longer after the holiday season.
- Vacationers want to connect with loved ones: 58% say time with friends and family is the main motivator for taking their longest trip this season. Another 51% are looking for rest and relaxation. While both are often big motivators for travel, travelers place more emphasis on these factors during the holidays than during the summer.
- Boomers are traveling again: they account for just one-fifth (21%) of the holiday traveling public in 2022; this year the group will make up 29% of travelers. Boomers also tend to spend more on travel compared to Gen Z and Millennials.
- Younger generations plan to take more trips and spend more during the season: Gen Z travelers plan an average of 2.1 trips over the holidays, second only to millennials at 2.2. One in 4 Gen Z travelers say they will significantly increase their budgets year over year, the highest of any generation.
- About 1 in 5 travelers (18%) say they are spending significantly less on vacation travel than last year. The same share of travelers (18%) plan to spend significantly more this season. Financial concerns are the main reason why travelers will spend less, while higher prices are the main reason why they plan to spend more.
- For those who do not travel, finances are the main deterrent (38%). Health concerns and disruption are lower on the list, cited by just 11% of non-travelers (compared to 18% in 2022) and show that concerns from previous years may be leveling off.
Travelers are packing some pandemic-era preferences
Some preferences that increased during the pandemic are waning as travelers plan to return to hotels and international destinations in greater numbers. As Americans return to the new travel normal, the influence of younger generations is growing, elevating the role of social media in travel planning.
- Hotels are making a big comeback as 56% of holiday travelers plan to book a stay at some point this holiday season, up from 35% in 2022. Preference for private rentals remains unchanged at 15%.
- More than a third (37%) of travelers will fly at least once during the holiday season. Meanwhile, about half (53%) of American travelers are planning trips, down from nearly two-thirds (64%) in 2021.
- While 26% of air travelers will be flying to international destinations, overseas travel accounts for a larger share of travel in early January compared to the rest of the season. International travelers are also more likely to stay in paid accommodation (73% in hotels and 28% in privately rented accommodation for at least part of their longest holiday trip), as 1 in 5 say it offsets travel that is missed due to the pandemic. International travelers are more likely to rely on social media to choose their travel destinations (52% vs. 39% domestic travelers), as well as social content such as apps, videos, travel websites and Generative AI.
- Participation in tourism activities increased in most categories year-on-year, including visiting a major attraction (43% in 2023 vs. 36% in 2022) and attending a ticketed event such as a concert or festival (30% in 2023 compared to 23% in 2022).
- Gen Z and millennials are leading the charge for more sustainable travel, especially when it comes to prioritizing hotels with higher sustainability scores (23% and 25% respectively), which is the most popular eco-friendly travel choice.
“The tourism industry reaches its altitude this holiday season. Spending time with family and friends is even more important during the holidays, and Americans are embracing that tradition as they pack away many of the worries that affected plans last year. Travel providers that deliver unforgettable holiday experiences will have the opportunity to further engage travelers looking to plan additional trips in the new year.”
— Mike Hensvice chairman, Deloitte LLP and an uncertified leader in the U.S. transportation, hospitality and services industry
For telecommuters, it’s a super jolly season to travel
Many telecommuters continue to take advantage of flexible office arrangements to extend and enhance their vacation travel experiences. One in three travelers (34%) say they are likely to work during their longest trip during the holiday season. These “laptop lovers” skew the young and rich compared to the general traveler.
- The percentage of higher-income travelers with a laptop is up 30% year-on-year, while lower-income travelers are half as likely to bring work with them as they were last year.
- Laptop lovers continue to take more, longer trips during the season: they plan an average of 2.3 trips, with their longest trip extended by four days due to telecommuting. On average, travelers will add five travel days during the holiday season if they can telecommute.
- While working while traveling during the holiday season, laptop users are most concerned about separating work from leisure (53%) and staying productive (41%).
- Travelers who plan to work during their longest vacation trip also feature higher budgets for both the entire season and their longest trip, and plan to spend more on airfare and accommodation.
“Showing much enthusiasm for travel, Americans are taking advantage of all the joy the season has to offer. Boomers and Gen Z will have a particularly strong impact on the industry. In general, more travelers are planning to stay in hotels over the holidays rather than just visiting family and friends. What’s more, laptops continue to use flexible working arrangements to make the most of the holiday season, creating new and memorable opportunities for travelers and suppliers alike.”
— Eileen CrowleyVice Chair, US Transportation, Hospitality & Services Attestation Lead, Deloitte & Touche LLP
Deloitte’s “2023 Vacation Travel Study” is based on a survey of 5,281 Americans who participated between September 12 – 25. Of those, 2,531 respondents who planned to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January qualified as vacation travelers.
Connect with us on Twitter at @DeloitteCB or LinkedIn @MikeDaher and @EileenCrowley.
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