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US traveller trends and behaviours revealed

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Want to find out what’s influencing American travellers in 2023? We explore what they look for in a holiday, what affects their decisions, and offer a few top tips for holiday rental owners.

Like most people in the world, Americans love a holiday. But are they different from the rest of the world in where, why and how they travel? As part of our Travel Trends 2023 survey, we’ve asked 2,000 Americans* all about their travel plans and what influences their decision making. Let’s look at what they had to say.

Travel motivations

First, why are people travelling – what motivates them? Interestingly enough, a lot of the top answers involved self-care and relaxation. 79% of people said they travel to give themselves time to relax, 76% said it was to boost their mood, and 76% also said it was to take time to mentally unwind.

Exploring generational differences in this category, there were a few stats which stood out. Millennials (aged 27-42) are far more likely to travel in search of thrills and adventure with 78% finding this important. This is compared to 42% for boomers (aged 59-77), 60% for Gen X (aged 43-58), and 64% for Gen Z (aged 18-26). Millennials also came out on top for exploring different cuisines – 77% said they’re motivated to travel to try new foods, compared to 54% of boomers and 65% of Gen Z and Gen X.

Tip: Despite some disparities, the vast majority of Americans agree that they want travel to be relaxing. A good night’s sleep can go a long way to delivering that. Consider investing in black out blinds and providing amenities like earplugs and sleep spray.

Activities and experiences

So we know what motivates Americans to travel, but what do they want to do when they get there? We asked which tours or activities they’d be interested in on their trips this year. The most popular answer was a food experience, with 35% saying this was in their plans. Next, came a sightseeing tour (34%), a day of shopping (33%), and visiting a viewpoint of the destination (30%).

Tip: Knowing that a food experience is often top of people’s wish list, it’s a good idea to list the best restaurants, cooking schools or local food tours close to your holiday rental.

Planned tours and activities for US travellers

 

Sources of inspiration

It’s always good to know how customers heard about you and what makes them decide to click that all important ‘book’ button. Travellers were asked to think back to a trip they took last year, and tell us how they gathered information and inspiration. 42% said they used search engines, 36% took advice from friends and family, and 29% used the help of travel booking websites. A figure that jumped off the page when looking at different age groups, was Gen Z’s use of social media. Posts from friends and family were their top sources of inspiration (37%).

Looking closer at social media, Americans tend to use Facebook more than anything else for ideas and inspiration. 74% said it was their platform of choice, followed by YouTube (62%) and Instagram (57%). 

Tip: Even though not all generations are on social media as much, it’s still a hugely important tool for inspiration. Make sure your social media pages are up to date and that they do your property justice.

Top amenities for US Travellers

 

The information and amenities that matter most

Once they’ve found you, there are several things that can turn a customer’s indecision into excitement. We asked what travellers consider when booking, after price and location. The top answer was reviews from other travellers, with 29%. Free WiFi was next (24%), followed closely by accommodation facilities (23%) and room photos (22%).

Given that it was so important to travellers, we wanted to find out a bit more about reviews. We asked what specifically they look at. 70% said they look most at recent reviews, 37% said they look at the accommodation’s response to reviews, and 59% said they look at positive reviews.

Since accommodation facilities proved a popular influence, we asked travellers to rate the importance of various amenities. Americans said that air conditioning was most crucial for an enjoyable stay, with 82% choosing it. 76% said free WiFi, 66% said free parking, and 62% said a 24-hour check-in.

Tip: While some of these things may not seem like a unique selling point, travellers do like seeing them advertised, so don’t be humble – if you’ve got it, make sure you mention it.

It seems Americans aren’t too demanding when it comes to their travel wants and needs. They like to relax, feel safe, comfortable (and make the most of free WiFi). Of course, everyone is different, but we hope this article has given you a few insights that can help you make someone’s stay an unforgettable one.

*Research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who had taken a trip in the last 12 months and planned to take a trip in 2023. The sample comprised 2,000 respondents across the US. Respondents completed an online survey in January or February 2023. 
 

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Takeaway
  • 79% of US travellers say relaxation is the main motivator for their next holiday 
  • Social media posts from friends and family is the top source of travel inspiration for Gen Z
  • Recent reviews are most influential after location and price
  • 35% of Americans say a culinary experience is in their 2023 travelling plans