Although frustration with the service issues experienced in an uber-crowded summer season and a continued seriousness about financial concerns pose challenges for the travel & hospitality industry, the outlook for Fall travel still looks comforting.
NB: This is an article from Destination Analysts
With the pumpkin spice latte making its 2022 debut and Labor Day celebrated, Americans said goodbye to summer. Fully 62% of American travelers took at least one overnight trip between mid-May and mid-August. As was the case last month, 40% of these summer travelers reported experiencing at least one service issue on their trips, with problems caused by staffing shortages topping the list.
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In fact, 38% continued to agree it seemed like businesses in the travel industry were having trouble providing adequate service to their customers (although this metric is declining from a high of 42% in June). Nearly half (48%) of those who had a service issue on their trip rated their experience as more than moderately frustrating—with Gen X travelers exhibiting the highest levels of frustration, while Boomer-age travelers appeared more patient with the situation.
If you are wondering if these service issues have had an adverse impact on sentiment towards future travel, it certainly has taken hold in some travelers’ minds. In our latest survey, 31% of those who reported moderate to extreme levels of frustration with the service issues they experienced on their recent trips said that they are reconsidering their Fall travel plans specifically due to these frustrations. In addition, crowds/too many people traveling (17%) and the possibility of flight cancellations were among the top 10 travel deterrents Americans cited for why they didn’t travel more in the past few months.
The Outlook for Fall and Beyond
Despite the challenges facing travel, nearly two-thirds (64.7%) of American travelers still expect to take at least one overnight leisure trip in the next three months, and nearly half (47%) plan to take an overnight trip specifically to visit friends or relatives in this time frame. Currently, 29% of American travelers say they have a leisure trip planned in September and 30% have a leisure trip planned in October—on the rise since last month. Looking further ahead, a growing number of Americans say they are open to travel inspiration (68%; up nearly 7-points compared to July) and are increasingly excited about their travel in the future (80% report high levels of excitement for travel, up 4-points in the last month).
In terms of disruptions due to Covid, even with the latest variants, the virus’ impact on Americans’ ability to have meaningful travel experiences is in retreat. Now only 30% of travelers say Covid is still negatively impacting their travel experiences (down 17-points from the start of the year).
However, with so many believing the economy is – or will be soon – in a recession, the top travel deterrents remain firmly financial: the cost of gas, airfare, and travel in general being too expensive, as well as their own personal financial situation. Although falling gas prices have released some of the cost pressures travelers are facing – and, in turn, the proportion who say that they will be taking fewer road trips or road trips closer to home has declined from highs seen in June – inflation continues to be a significant issue. Over 30% of American travelers say recent inflation in consumer prices has led them to cancel an upcoming trip, and 45% say high prices have kept them from traveling in the past month. Over the past year, those who feel their personal financial situation is stronger than it was relative to the year prior has fallen from 41% in August 2021 to 27% in August 2022.