More U.S. travelers are set to travel this summer, and they are expected to spend more this year compared to last year, according to sources.
According to Generali Global Assistance’s Travel Insurance division and its annual survey on vacation plans for U.S. travelers, 68 percent of the 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed said they will take a trip this summer—and increase from 2016’s 61 percent.
Meanwhile, Squaremouth research shows that travelers are spending slightly more on vacations this summer compared to last, with the average trip costing $6,080 for a destination in the research’s top 10 places to travel.
That means hoteliers need to work diligently to capture their piece of the pie. Following is a roundup of some U.S. summer travel trends this year and what hoteliers can do to drive business.
1. Social Media Drives Travelers
This summer, social media will continue to be a big part of travelers’ vacations, according to Generali Global Assistance. The research found that of those surveyed, only 40 percent said they would use social media less than they normally would if they were not traveling. That means guests will potentially be sharing experiences with their circle in real time.
Hotelier Tip: Don’t discount the role social media plays in your overall marketing strategy, both to acquire customers and to keep them. Although return on investment can be difficult to measure with social media, you cannot underestimate its importance to your guests. Read more: Hotels need to pay better attention to social media to drive revenue
2. Travelers Seek Hot Spots
Hoteliers with properties in some warm-weather destinations might want to rejoice this summer, according to research from AAA. Most U.S. domestic travelers are looking to Orlando this summer as the top getaway market.
Based on bookings made for June through August this year, domestic travelers also are looking to:
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Los Angeles/Anaheim
- Maui, Hawaii
- Fairbanks, Alaska
- Las Vegas
- Salt Lake City
Hotelier Tip: Make sure your online presence is strong enough to stand out from the crowd and that you are targeting the right audience. Read more: Audience targeting is key to driving direct hotel bookings
3. Hotels Remain a Top Accommodation Choice
Although the figure is down 2 percent from last year, 55 percent of people surveyed in the Generali Global Assistance research said that hotels will be their most-used form of accommodation this summer.
However, researchers note that other lodging types are increasing in popularity, especially among millennials. For instance:
- 59 percent of millennials said they would rent an individual’s private house or apartment, versus 38 percent of the general population.
- 37 percent of millennials said they would rent a room in a private house, versus 20 percent of the general population.
- 29 percent of millennials said they would engage in a free home exchange, versus 16 percent of the general population.
Hotelier Tip: The guest experience often starts at your website. Make sure you provide a user-friendly experience in order to entice visitors and drive them to book. Read more: Driving conversions requires a standout hotel website and 5 ways to drive direct bookings on your hotel website
4. Travelers Care About Three Things
There are three factors that will drive travelers’ decisions about where they stay during their summer vacations, according to Generali Global Assistance. Those factors are:
- location (63 percent);
- value (57 percent); and
- online reviews (33 percent, which is an increase from 31 percent last year).
Hotelier Tip: While you can’t change your hotel’s location, you can have a superstar revenue-management team and strategy. Use your assets to your advantage and drive your strategy. Read more: 4 revenue-management tips that will drive profitability