Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Some Hope On the Travel Horizon?

I receive a lot of e-mail newsletters on a daily basis. Not many have included good hotel performance news as of late. In fact, here is the typical preface of a Smith Travel Research press release: "The U.S. hotel industry posted declines in all three key performance measurements during the week of...." That is why it was refreshing to read yesterday's travelhorizons survey results report from Ypartnership and the U.S. Travel Assn. According to the quarterly report, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of U.S. adults expect to take at least one trip for leisure purposes between August 2009 and January, 2010, up from 61 percent who expressed the same intention in July 2008. Assuming Americans act on their stated intention, this will translate into an estimated 142 million U.S. adults taking at least one overnight trip during the next six months.

It is certanly not a huge increase but an increase it is. According to the national survey of 2,362 respondents conducted between July 21 to 28, 2009, the average number of overnight trips U.S. adults intend to take during the next six months increased to 2.8 from 2.6 in July 2008. The July Traveler Sentiment Index also reflected consumers' improved sentiment. After falling slightly between February and April 2009, the index rose to 92.1 (against a base of 100 in March 2007), and three points above the number recorded in April 2009 (89.1).

Was there bad news in the report? Yes. Survey respondents indicated they plan to spend less on travel this year. That means they will be shopping for the best deal and will most likely do that online. Still, it is good to see some favorable trends emerging. The stock market has recovered substantially over the past several months, the number of those losing their jobs on a monthly basis is also decreasing. Here's hoping there is more good news on the travel horizon.

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