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U.S. Experiential Traveler Trends 2019: Annual Survey on Traveler Behavior, Motivations, and Preferences

by Meghan Carty + Skift Team - Mar 2019

Skift Research Take

In the third iteration of this survey, we give an in-depth look at how the modern American travelers’ values, attitudes, and behaviors have changed or remained constant over time.

Report Overview

Skift Research presents the results of the third iteration of our U.S. Experiential Traveler Survey. We began fielding this survey in 2016, when the concept of “experiential travel” still seemed new and different. Now, we understand “experience” as being an integral and desired part of all leisure travel, yet nuances about what experience means continue to shift. We’ve decided to run this study every year to capture what’s changed and what’s stayed the same to help the travel industry stay up to date with trends and respond accordingly. The main focus of this latest report is year-over-year comparisons to highlight changes as well as trends that are remaining stable. We will release a separate report highlighting key demographic trends later in the year. We begin the report by showcasing the biggest trends for 2019, which we identify as areas with the most significant changes from last year and/or 2016. These big areas of change include evolutions in travel motivations, planning and booking preferences, travel priorities, and alternative accommodation use. We then present the rest of the survey’s results including the previous year’s data (or years’ where relevant, as the 2016 data was more limited), to give a complete picture of what has changed and what remains consistent over time.

Survey Methodology:

Skift Research’s U.S. Experiential Traveler Survey 2019 collected responses from 1,300 respondents who live in the U.S. To qualify, respondents had to indicate that they had taken at least one extended leisure trip (at least one night’s stay 200 miles or more from home), one round-trip flight for non-business purposes, and stayed at a hotel for at least one night, all in the last 12 months. Respondents also met quotas for gender, age, combined household income, and region based on the sample of U.S. travelers represented in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey. The survey was fielded by a trusted third-party consumer panel provider. Throughout the report, we compare 2019 results to 2018 results. You can see the methodology for that survey here. Results from 2016 are also included for comparison where relevant. Learn more about that survey here.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Domestic and international trip incidence
  • The key motivators for travel
  • Booking behaviors and preferences
  • Planning behaviors and preferences
  • Incidence of alternative accommodation use across brands
  • Satisfaction with Airbnb rentals
  • Attitudes about hotels versus alternative accommodations
  • Hotel amenity preferences
  • Air travel brand preferences
  • Personal values that impact travel preferences
  • Top priorities when it comes to travel