If there were a motto for consumer sentiment toward summer travel this year, a top contender would be, “No matter what.”
So says a survey of more than 1,000 travelers in the U.S. conducted in June by McKinsey & Company. Its findings reveal that leisure travel is booming—and 68% of those polled are sticking to their summer vacation plans despite a slew of potential deterrents, skyrocketing inflation among them.
Simply put, travel’s perennial appeal—arguably amplified by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic—looms large. When respondents were asked what they’d do with hypothetical lottery proceeds, spending on travel was the No. 2 reply (behind saving/paying down debt). And while concerns about macro-economic factors linger, they’re not enough to convince travelers to cancel their vacation plans.
Which isn’t to say they’re not making adjustments. Venturing closer to home, shortening their trips, and opting for cheaper hotels are just a few ways savvy travelers are navigating rising prices to ensure they can enjoy summer’s fleeting days.
The proof of travel’s triumphant return lies in the numbers. According to the survey, revenue per available room (RevPAR) in the U.S.—a key performance metric in the hotel industry—is outstripping not just 2020 and 2021 levels, but increasingly 2019 levels as well. While hotels aren’t as full as they were in 2019, rates have increased—the average daily rate (ADR) stands around 15% more expensive now than it was three years ago.