Golden Gate Bridge

US traveler trends and behaviors revealed

 | Save
Want to find out what’s influencing American travelers in 2023? We explore what they look for in a vacation and what affects their decisions – and offer a few tips for vacation rental owners.

Like most people, Americans love a vacation. But are they different from the rest of the world in terms of where, why, and how they travel? For our Travel Trends 2023 survey*, we asked 2,000 Americans about their travel plans and what influences their decision-making. Here’s what they had to say.

Travel motivations

First, why are people traveling and what motivates them? Interestingly enough, many 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 unwind.

In terms of generational differences in this category, a few stats stood out. Millennials (ages 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 baby boomers (ages 59–77), 60% for Gen X (43–58), and 64% for Gen Z (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 baby 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

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

Tip: Since food experiences are often at the top of people’s wish lists, it’s a good idea to list the best restaurants, cooking schools, or food tours close to your vacation rental.

Planned tours and activities for US travellers

 

Sources of inspiration

It’s always good to know how customers heard about you and what made them click “book.” Travelers 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 out 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, it’s still an extremely important tool for inspiration. Make sure your social media pages are up to date and do your property justice.

Top amenities for US Travellers

 

The info and amenities that matter most

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

Since they were so important to travelers, we wanted to learn 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 responses to reviews, and 59% said they look at positive reviews.

Since accommodation facilities proved a popular influence, we asked travelers to rate the importance of various amenities. Americans said air conditioning was crucial for an enjoyable stay, with 82% picking it as the top amenity. 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 unique selling points, travelers like seeing them advertised. Don’t be humble – if you have it, make sure you mention it.

It seems Americans aren’t too demanding when it comes to their travel needs. They like to relax, feel safe and comfortable, and have access to free WiFi. Of course, everyone is different – we hope this article gave you a few insights that help you make someone’s stay unforgettable.

*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 USA. Respondents completed an online survey in January or February 2023. 
 

What do you think of this page?

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