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Consumer Travel Report Third Edition
Report | Published: June 2011

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  • Summary
  • Contents
  • Methodology

Publication Summary

With the economic landslide of 2009 behind them, Americans were eager to wipe the slate and start fresh in 2010. For many, however, it was not so easy to shake off the general unease that lingered over consumer confidence, yielding only a modest leisure travel recovery. Travel companies across the spectrum will benefit from a more positive traveler outlook in 2011, yet many questions remain: Which traveler segments are recovering most quickly? Is the appetite for certain types of trips stronger than for others? How influential is social media in decision-making? Phocuswright's Consumer Travel Report Third Edition provides a comprehensive view of the status of consumer travel in the U.S., helping travel companies adapt their operations for the ever-changing landscape of the consumer travel marketplace. This report reviews the dynamics that drove consumer travel behavior in 2010 and highlights key indicators for understanding trends in 2011. Based on an online survey of more than 2,500 U.S. consumers, the report examines travelers who play an active role in planning their leisure trips. In addition to tracking fundamental behaviors such as the incidence of travel, the report analyzes the influence of various media, typical booking methods and the motives behind consumer decisions. Key topics include:

  • Overall travel incidence, trip frequency and duration
  • Travel spend and budget intentions for the coming year
  • In-depth analysis of lodging and air travel trends, and purchase incidence for car rental, cruise, rail, vacation packages and destination activities
  • Comparison of consumer behavior by phase: destination selection, shopping, purchasing and sharing
  • How U.S. travelers decide where to go
  • Information sources and online features that influence travel shopping decisions
  • Travel booking channels and purchase behavior
Phocuswright's Consumer Travel Report Third Edition combines crucial consumer metrics with sophisticated analysis to help travel companies capitalize on the consumer trends impacting their business. Purchase today to gain deep insight into U.S. consumer behavior, attitudes and preferences. Get a comprehensive view of the status of consumer travel in the U.S. with the corresponding Webinar, On the Edge of Optimism: Key U.S. Traveler Insights ($199). Save $100 when you purchase the publication plus Webinar package.

Table of Contents

44 Pages

Section 1: Overview, Methodology and Research Highlights

Section 2: General Travel Behavior
Overall Travel Incidence
Income Distribution
Trip Frequency
Trip Duration
Annual Household Travel Spend
Other General Travel Behaviors

Section 3: Travel Component Incidence and Intentions
Lodging and Air Travel Incidence
Types of Lodging

Section 4: The Online Travel Planning Process
Number of Websites Used

Section 5: The Destination Selection Phase

Section 6: The Shopping Phase

Section 7: The Travel Purchase Phase
Online vs. Offline Purchasing
Component Channel Purchase Behavior
OTA Shopping-to-Purchase Defectors

Appendix: Survey Respondent Demographical Information


U.S. Traveler Population

Incidence of Travel

Income Distribution Variance, 2009-2010

Annual Household Income Distribution by Age

Frequency of Leisure and Business Trips

Travel Frequency Intentions by Number of Leisure Trips Taken in Prior Year

Duration of Leisure Trips

Trip Duration Intentions by Longest Trip Taken in Prior Year

Annual Household Travel Spend

Trip Budget Intentions by Annual Household Travel Spend in Prior Year

Annual Household Travel Spend and Travel Incidence by Age

Trip Budget Intentions by Age

Travel Party Composition

International Travel Incidence

Lodging and Air Traveler Incidence

Annual Household Travel Spend and Trip Frequency by Lodging and Air Traveler Incidence

Intentions for Travel Product Consumption

Enjoyment of Lodging and Air Travel

Intentions for Travel Product Consumption, by Enjoyment

Travel Component Purchase Incidence

Usage of Lodging Types

Number of Lodging Types Used, by Annual Household Travel Spend

Usage of Lodging Types, by Annual Household Travel Spend

Number of Websites Used, by Phase

Mean* Number of Websites Used, by Planning Phase and Annual Household Travel Spend

Destination Selection Categories

Motivation for Last Trip to an Independently Selected Destination

Information Sources for Destination Selection

Websites Used for Destination Selection

Sources of Information Used in Shopping Phase

Websites Used for Shopping, by Incidence of Taking a Flight

Website Choice Motivation

Website Choice Motivation, by Annual Household Travel Spend

Influence of Online Features (Social Media)

Influence of Online Features (Rich Media)

General Travel Booking Channel

Typical Purchase Methods

Typical Purchase Methods by Age

Typical Purchase Methods

Purchase Method Used by Online Travel Agency Shoppers and 2010 Annual Household Travel Spend

General Demographics - Employment Status & Gender

Household Composition

Education and Age


Respondent Geography and Population Density


Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey January 19-25, 2011 through Global Market Insite, Inc., targeting the general U.S. population that has Internet access and travels for leisure. To qualify for participation in the study, respondents had to indicate they had taken at least one leisure trip at least 75 miles from home in the past 12 months that included paid lodging and/ or air travel. An additional screener required consumers to have played an active role in planning their leisure trips. Respondents who qualified are referred to as "U.S. travelers." The term "lodging" is used in this report to refer to the broad range of paid accommodations - hotels and other nightly priced lodging products, as well as timeshares and vacation rentals. Phocuswright received 2,536 qualified responses, and the weighted respondent pool can be projected with confidence to the U.S. adult population with Internet access. A total of 6,064 respondents were surveyed to obtain baseline metrics about travelers and non-travelers within the general online population. The error interval for analysis of the U.S. traveler population is +/-1.95% at a 95% confidence level. Significant differences noted in this report were identified at a 95% confidence level. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Harris Interactive, Phocuswright projects the number of U.S. adults with Internet access who have taken at least one leisure trip (as previously defined) to be 118 million people in 2010 (see Figure 1). These travelers represent 50% of the total U.S. population. The additional requirement for respondents to have played an active role in travel planning further tightens the focus of the study, as 13% of travelers were consequently disqualified. Phocuswright's Consumer Travel Report Third Edition examines travelers who played an active role in planning their trips. These U.S. travelers represent 94 million consumers and 40% of the total U.S. adult population.