In consumer research released today, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has found that travel tops consumer wish lists over other discretionary spending, with 77 percent of Americans saying they would pick a vacation experience over a new computer, television, virtual reality headset or gaming console.
In September, 61 percent of travelers felt that the cost of consumer goods was much higher. This is a 10 percent increase over the 51 percent who felt that consumer goods’ cost was much higher in May 2022. Despite this finding, 40 percent say that “nothing” will stop them from taking a vacation. In fact, 25 percent of American travelers plan to take a “dream vacation” in the next six months.
Even though nearly nine in ten travelers feel the impact of inflation on consumer goods, 40 percent of travelers are spending more on travel in the balance of the year, and an astonishing 75 percent of Americans plan to spend the same or more on travel in 2023.
This year’s festive travel season is shaping up to be robust. 64 percent of travelers will go out of town for Thanksgiving, 66 percent have travel plans in December, and 38 percent have already made travel arrangements for New Year’s Eve.
When it comes to return on investment, 48 percent of consumers feel that travel is the best investment in these times, compared to other discretionary spend categories – almost double the investment value of buying a new car (21 percent).
Travel advisors are busier than ever this year because travel remains a top priority with consumers, with 70 percent saying that travel is a reward for what they have “had to deal with” over the past two years (revenge travel). 65 percent of Americans also self-report that they ascribe to the “YOLO” adage or “You Only Live Once” when it comes to travel, believing now is the time to get back out there and see the world.
“This research shows that Americans not only want to travel, they need to travel,” said Zane Kerby, President and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors. “However, they also believe travel tends to be inherently expensive, complex, and lacking in customer service.
“We’re pleased to see a three percent increase from our spring survey, showing 48 percent of consumers feel that a travel advisor would put them more at ease (compared to 45 percent in May). Professional travel planners can help price-conscious travelers with their budget, and they also deliver more value for the travel dollar that Americans are prioritizing more than ever before.”