With Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, just a month away, one reality is clear: Americans are desperate for a vacation and are feeling the effects. According to a recent Hilton survey of U.S. travelers, more than three in four (76%) respondents experience negative feelings when they go too long without a vacation, with burn out (41%) and boredom (36%) being among the top emotions.
Beyond spotlighting the undesirable impacts of missing vacation, the survey also revealed the reason for the demand. Though respondents report needing a break, more than half (51%) of Americans feel guilty for taking that time off, even as 41% report that relaxation begins as soon as they turn on their “out of office” email response.
“This summer, a record number of people are predicted to emerge from their pandemic bubbles and take much-needed breaks from their everyday lives to recharge, relax and experience the world around them once again,” said Matt Schuyler, chief brand officer, Hilton. “Inspired by our 2022 trends report, we conducted a new survey to further illustrate how the events of the last two years have affected traveler preferences and passions. We have gained a deeper understanding of what people will be craving this summer travel season—from more time with their four-legged friends to more everything beachfront—and are confident that our 18 award-winning brands are well-positioned to deliver on these new guest preferences.”
The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, uncovered four key themes:
Pets will be this summer’s favored travel companions
Hilton’s global trends report showcased that there is a new, important traveler to consider post-pandemic: the family pet. More than half of survey respondents who are pet owners (55%) are planning to travel with their pet this summer. In fact, 58% would prefer to travel with their pet rather than a friend or family member.
To meet this growing demand, as of April 1, Hilton now offers more than 5,000 pet-friendly hotels globally across its portfolio, including seven pet-friendly brands in the U.S. and Canada—Canopy by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton.
Holistic wellness will be at the forefront of travelers’ minds
An overwhelming 98% of survey respondents acknowledged they prioritize wellness activities while on vacation. Today, travelers are focusing on their overall well-being and will be looking for experiences beyond access to the spa and gym that focus on connecting the mind, body and spirit—and wellness priorities vary from traveler to traveler. For example, Americans feel mentally refreshed on vacation when they get a feel for the local culture (41%) or turn their phone off and unplug (33%). Women, in particular, are likely to prioritize reconnecting with family and friends (46%), while men are likely to prioritize healthy eating (34%).
Hilton recognizes the importance of holistic wellness as part of the overall the guest experience, from check-in to checkout. Hotels are incorporating design elements and introducing amenities that are scientifically designed to create feelings of warmth and relaxation as well as renewed energy and focus—from the floor-to-ceiling windows in meeting and banquet spaces in locations like Resorts World Las Vegas to wellness minded amenities, like teas that prevent elevation sickness at Hilton Bogota Corferias.
Combating burnout, Americans are rethinking their 9-to-5
While they may be focusing more on wellness, American workers are still not taking time to unplug and recharge from work. More than a quarter (28%) of employed Americans disclosed that, since 2019, they have failed to use all their paid vacation days, with 51% of those respondents admitting it’s because they feel guilty about taking time off.
With the shift from work-life balance to “work from anywhere,” many have goals to integrate fun in their workday. With workers taking advantage of flexible office time or shortened summer Fridays, 40% of respondents will consider their summer a success if they spend a workday in a beach chair instead of an office chair.
Hilton is adapting to this new reality of work life by offering portfolio-wide booking options that integrate both business and leisure, like WorkSpaces by Hilton, a work-from-hotel solution for both corporate customers and individuals seeking office space to increase efficiency in their workday. Hotels are answering this need with creative, on-property experiences and packages, such as WiFi blocking jackets to help travelers fully unplug at The Foundry Hotel Asheville, Curio Collection by Hilton in Asheville, NC, or the “Stay Longer and Work from Paradise” package at Conrad Punta de Mita in Mexico (pictured above).
The refreshed definition of “relaxation” is simply “resorting”
This summer, people are looking to relax and reconnect with loved ones but want to avoid the hassle of complicated travel planning. According to the survey, 85% of people agree that booking at an all-inclusive resort is the best way to reduce the stress of planning, and more than one third (37%) of respondents feel mentally refreshed on vacation when they don’t have to worry about leaving the resort during their stay.
Whether it’s enjoying a host of outdoor activities at The Woodlands Resort Curio Collection by Hilton in Texas, savoring a coastal European escape at Hilton Rijeka Costabella Beach Resort & Spa or kicking back at overwater bungalows at DoubleTree Noumea Ilot Maitre Resort, Hilton offers a range of resorts around the world for travelers looking to indulge.
When it comes to all-inclusive vacations, Hilton is redefining the experience with new resorts, according to the company. These include the recently opened Hilton Cancun, an All-Inclusive Resort, which blends Mexican heritage and modern sophistication, and the upcoming opening of Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort, an eco-chic getaway nestled in a secluded bay overlooking white sands and blue waters.
The Hilton Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 Nationally Representative U.S. Adults Ages 18+, between March 11th and March 16th, 2022, using an email invitation and an online survey. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of U.S. adults ages 18+.