Study highlights emerging lodging type, brand preferences

The results of MMGY Global’s “2017 Portrait of American Travelers” reveal that consumer preferences for both the type and brand of lodging accommodations continue to evolve, yet two “mega brands” continue to dominate the landscape.

As reflected in the table, full-service, branded hotels dominate preference for all generational groups, and are also preferred more by affluent travelers (annual household income greater than $125K) than those who are less affluent (annual HHI less than $125K). Preference for all-suite lodging is highest among gen-Xers, and lowest among matures. Less affluent and older (boomer and mature) travelers clearly prefer limited-service, branded lodging, while preference for this type of accommodation is lowest among both millennials and gen-Xers. Boutique lodging is preferred by more affluent millennials. Millennials also express greatest preference for bed-and-breakfasts, and greater interest in “shared economy” accommodations.

When asked to cite the “top three lodging brands” at which they would prefer to stay on a future leisure trip, Hilton and Marriott dominate, with the former edging out the latter overall, and achieving a decided advantage with respect to preference among the emerging generation of travelers (in particular, millennials). Marriott is preferred by a significantly higher percentage of affluent travelers, however.

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Other clear preferences are evident among the brands that made the list:

  • Holiday Inn is clearly preferred by less affluent travelers, although enjoys essentially the same incidence of preference across all generational groups;
  • Hyatt is clearly preferred by more affluent, gen-Xers;
  • Preference for Best Western is most pronounced among less-affluent matures;
  • Travelers who cite a preference for Hampton Inn are indistinguishable by annual household income, yet are far more likely to be mature;
  • Comfort Inn/Suites appeal to an older, less-affluent crowd;
  • There are no observed income or generational preferences for Sheraton or Embassy Suites;
  • Westin is preferred by more affluent matures;
  • La Quinta’s preference is greatest among less-affluent travelers;
  • Leisure travelers’ preferences for lodging brands continue to coalesce among the top two consolidators (Hilton and Marriott). And although we measure preference for each of the brands that fall within these two portfolios, the wisdom of co-branding less-well-known and/or start-up brands that are part of these portfolios is evident because of the strength of their “master” brand. Specific brand preferences are also discernible across generational and annual household income groups.

For more information on the MMGY “Global Portrait of American Travelers,” please visit [email protected]

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