Half of Americans likely to travel in 2021

US: A survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), conducted by Morning Consult, has revealed optimism amongst consumers for 2021 travel with confidence tied to the vaccine distribution.

Prior to the pandemic, 58 per cent of survey respondents said they stayed in a hotel for at least one night per year for leisure. 21 per cent said they stayed at least one night per year for work.

Looking ahead into 2021, 34 per cent of respondents said they are already comfortable staying in a hotel. 48 per cent however said their comfort is tied in some way to the vaccine distribution.

11 per cent revealed they will feel comfortable staying in a hotel when vaccines are available to the general public; 20 per cent when a majority of Americans have been vaccinated; and 17 per cent when they are personally vaccinated.

Cleanliness has ranked a top factor when choosing a hotel. In a separate survey of travellers conducted by Ecolab in December 2020, 62 per cent of consumers placed overall cleanliness in their top three factors when choosing a hotel—a 24 per cent increase over pre-Covid preferences. Further, 53 per cent of consumers said that enhanced cleaning regimens will make them feel more comfortable staying at a hotel.

In AHLA’s survey overall, 56 per cent of survey respondents said they are likely to travel for leisure or vacation in 2021. One in five expect their next hotel stay to be between now and April, with another 24 per cent expecting sometime between May and August.

In the year ahead, Americans reported they are most likely to travel for a family event such as a wedding or family reunion (51 per cent), while many are likely to travel over the summer holidays, led by Fourth of July (33 per cent) and Labor Day (28 per cent). 

Compared to last year, 36 per cent of Americans expect to travel more for leisure in 2021, while 23 per cent expect to travel less and 42 per cent about the same.

“While consumers are optimistic about traveling in 2021 after nearly a year of self-distancing measures, we continue to face record devastation. Covid-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “In the next Covid-19 relief package, the hotel industry needs support from Congress and the Administration that will ultimately help small business hoteliers keep their doors open, and bring more employees back to work. Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry, hotels across the country are focused on creating an environment ready for guests when travel begins to return.”

The survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA took place between January 7-9, 2021 among a national sample of 2,200 adults. 

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