PwC Holiday Outlook: Most Travelers Will Stay at Branded Hotels

NATIONAL REPORT—Consumers are somewhat optimistic about holiday spending this year with 86% stating they will spend the same or more this holiday as they did in 2018, according to PwC’s 2019 Holiday Outlook, which explores the likely spending behaviors of 2,017 U.S. consumers and what they shared about their intentions this holiday season.

On average, they will spend $1,284 on gifts, travel and entertainment, a modest increase of 2.7% over last year.

Among the biggest spenders: holiday travelers, college graduates and telecommuters. Meanwhile, almost half of young millennials (age 24-27) will spend more this holiday season than they did last year, compared to 33% of consumers overall.

In addition, technology continues to streamline travel as airlines and hotels improve mobile apps, introduce biometric scanning and equip staff with hand-held devices to better respond to consumer requests.

Most travelers will stay at branded hotels or with family and friends. While short-term rentals aren’t the first choice for travels, they are gaining in popularity, according to the report. In response, hotels are mixing and matching new formats from luxury villas to tech-assisted properties that tailor rooms and rates to customer needs while requiring minimal tech-savvy staff. They’re also modernizing legacy properties to better respond to changing consumer preferences.

The industry’s reputation for creating the right experience for customers has attracted retailers, who are now experimenting with hospitality, recognizing that hotels and restaurants offer the perfect experiential backdrop for their products.