Survey: 7 out of 10 Americans unlikely to travel for holidays

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This new wave of COVID-19 cases is expected to impact the hospitality industry this holiday season.

According to a national survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), 72% of Americans are unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% are unlikely to travel for Christmas.

Eight percent of Americans say they have taken an overnight business trip since March, and just 19% of respondents who are currently employed — or 8% of all adults — expect to travel for business within the next six months. Additionally, 62% of employed Americans have no plans to stay in a hotel for business.

A survey of 2,200 adults conducted by the Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA between Nov. 2-4 revealed:

  • Only 3 in 10 (32%) respondents have taken an overnight vacation or leisure trip since March.
  • 21% of Americans say they are likely to travel for Thanksgiving, 24% are likely to travel for Christmas.
  • Looking ahead to next year, 24% are likely to travel for spring break
  • 44% say their next hotel stay for vacation or leisure travel will be a year or more from now or they have no plans to stay in a hotel

“This holiday season will be an especially difficult time for all Americans, and our industry is no exception,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “Fewer people will be traveling, and business travel remains nearly nonexistent. That’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass a relief bill now. Millions of Americans are out of work, and thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. We cannot afford to wait until the next Congress is sworn in for relief. They need help now.

“For those who are considering traveling for the holidays, hotels will be ready to welcome you. Through our Safe Stay initiative, hotels have enhanced our already rigorous cleaning protocols to be more transparent and give travelers even more peace of mind.”

After emerging from its record low in April, hotel occupancy rate has been declining since Labor Day. According to STR, the national hotel occupancy rate was 44.4% for the week ending Oct. 31, compared to 62.6% the same week last year. The occupancy rate in urban markets is 35.6%, down from 71.8% one year ago.

More than half of hotels report they have less than half of their typical, precrisis staff working full time currently.

“Without further governmental assistance, 74% of hotels said they would be forced into further layoffs,” per AHLA. “Business and group travel are not expected to reach 2019 peak demand levels again until 2023. As a result of the sharp drop in travel demand from COVID-19, state and local tax revenue from hotel operations is estimated to drop by $16.8 billion in 2020.”

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