Report: Economic uncertainty has replaced travelers’ pandemic concerns

This year was poised to be a strong recovery period for travel & hospitality, but economic uncertainty has replaced travelers’ pandemic concerns, halting the momentum of regrowth for the industry. Morning Consult’s quarterly report The State of Travel & Hospitality tracks evolving consumer trends in the travel & hospitality sector and analyzes what they mean for the future of the industry.

Based on survey interviews with more than 16,000 adults across the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, the report provides insight into how consumers are thinking about, planning for and engaging with travel amid the ongoing pandemic.

  • Primary travel barriers have shifted from health to cost: While concerns of rising COVID-19 cases may play a part in this decline, a more significant factor is the economy—43% of Americans are traveling less this summer because of high prices.
  • Americans’ intent to travel has cooled: The sharp drop in those planning to travel domestically within the next year suggests travelers took “revenge trips” in early summer and are now pulling back on plans for the remainder of the year.
  • Travelers look for less expensive options before changing plans: Gen Z adults and millennials are more likely to book travel with points or rewards instead of cash or credit, although millennials are most likely to cancel plans altogether.

Hitting the road overtaking flight

  • Travelers trade-off between driving and flying: 61% of Americans will travel by personal vehicle in the next three months, compared to 37% who will travel by plane.
  • Younger travelers are the most willing to pay for fare flexibility: More than a third of Gen Zers and just over a quarter of millennials say they will pay $50 or more for flexibility—significantly higher than the shares of Gen Xers (10%) and baby boomers (5%).
  • Price remains the top priority for Americans booking transportation (66%) and accommodation (68%) over safety measures (54% and 50%, respectively)
  • Flexible accommodation is key for younger and higher-income travelers: 52% of Americans say they’re willing to pay more for a hotel or vacation rental booking that offers free cancellation—led by Gen Z (75%) and millennial (66%) travelers.