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AHLA Survey: Hotels Poised for Strong Holiday Season

November 16, 2023

WASHINGTON – According to a survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and conducted by Morning Consult, the business outlook for hotels remains strong for the remainder of 2023 thanks to an uptick in business travel and a healthy preference among business and leisure travelers to stay in hotels.

In the survey, 68% of Americans whose jobs involve travel said they were likely to travel overnight for business during the last three months of 2023, up from 59% in 2022. Hotels are the top lodging choice for 81% of business travelers surveyed.

The survey found that 32% of Americans are likely to travel overnight for Thanksgiving, up from 28% a year earlier, while 34% are likely to travel overnight for Christmas, up from 31% last year. Meanwhile, 37% of Americans said they were likely to travel overnight for leisure during the last three months of 2023, down slightly from 39% in 2022.

The survey also found that travel attitudes have largely returned to pre-pandemic norms. 71% of Americans now say their likelihood of staying in hotels is the same as prior to the pandemic, and nearly 70% of business travelers say their employers have either returned to the pre-pandemic normal or increased amounts of business travel.

The survey of 4,006 adults was conducted Sept. 18-23, 2023. Other key findings include the following:

  • 55% of Americans planning to travel overnight for leisure during the last three months of 2023 plan to stay in a hotel.
  • 45% of Americans said they are more likely to stay in a hotel this holiday season than they were last year.
  • 44% of Americans said they are likely to take more leisure/vacation trips this holiday season than they did last year.
  • 59% of those planning to travel overnight for Thanksgiving plan to stay with family or friends, while 30% plan to stay at a hotel.
  • 62% of those planning to travel overnight for Christmas plan to stay with family or friends, while 26% plan to stay at a hotel.

“Hotels are going above and beyond to take excellent care of guests as travel approaches pre-COVID levels, and this survey underscores that fact,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “America’s nearly 62,500 hotels are a bright spot for the nation’s economy. To continue growing, they need to hire more people, but a nationwide shortage of workers is preventing hotels from regaining all the jobs we lost to the pandemic. There are a number of steps Congress can take to help address our industry’s workforce challenges. Those include establishing an H-2B returning worker exemption, passing the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act, and passing the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act.”

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. The survey was conducted Sept. 18-23 among a national sample of 4,006 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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