More than half (53%) of all US households are planning at least one leisure trip between now and April 2010, down slightly from the 56% who said the same in October 2008, according recent research from Ypartnership and the US Travel Association. These results – the result of ongoing economic woes – suggest that travel “value” will remain in vogue for 2010.
Household Budgets Curb Leisure Travel
The most recent travelhorizons survey reveals that, not surprisingly, concerns about household budgets remain the primary deterrent to future leisure travel, cited by 39% of those not planning a trip. However, the incidence of this concern is now at the lowest level since the question was first included in the survey, Ypartnership said.
The most significant decline in expected trips is among members of Generation X and Generation Y, while the incidence of leisure trips taken by Boomers is expected to increase. Among those in all groups planning to travel, the expected average number of leisure trips expected during the next six months is up to 3.0 from 2.8 in October 2008.
Business Travel Outlook Mixed
The outlook for business travel also remains mixed, with only 18% of adults planning at least one business trip – including trips to attend meetings and conventions – between now and April of 2010. This figure is relatively unchanged from the 17% recorded last July, Ypartnership said.
Expectations about the average number of business trips are more encouraging, however, as this number has increased steadily throughout the year, rising from an average of 3.3 in April to 4.8 in October. This average is being driven up by a relatively small percentage of the overall population of business travelers: Only 6% intend to take more business trips during the next six months, while 24% expect to take fewer.
Traveler Sentiment Index
The overall Traveler Sentiment Index, a derivative of six different variables measured in the survey, suggests that demand for travel services is likely to be flat during the next six months:
Among the six variables from which the index is derived, only one is currently moving in a positive direction: personal finances available for travel. The other five variables have declined from the levels recorded in July 2009, with the expected quality of travel services, affordability of travel and time available for travel declining the most drastically.
The travel horizon over the next six months does not reveal any significant change in the demand for travel services, according to the survey.ï¿½ Demand for leisure travel services will continue to fill the majority of occupied seats and rooms, with demand for business travel services remaining essentially flat, Ypartnership noted, adding that lingering concerns about household finances underscore the need for travel service marketers to insure they continue to offer good value in order to capture their fair share.