Staying Local: A Study of the U.S. Road Traveler

Staying Local: A Study of the U.S. Road Traveler Published July 2013 Analysts: Marcello Gasdia, Bing Liu


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Road trips are a quintessentially American way to vacation and a crucial segment of the U.S. domestic travel market. In fact, in 2012, nearly a quarter of U.S. adults took a road trip that included a hotel stay or car rental. But while highways are just as important as skyways in delivering travelers to their destinations, the importance of road travel is often overlooked by a flight-centric industry.

Phocuswright's Staying Local: A Study of the U.S. Road Traveler provides a comprehensive view of traveler trends within the U.S. domestic drive market. Key metrics – including driving distances, trip frequency and duration, travel party composition and travel expenditure – explore the fundamentals of road travel behavior, and help travel companies track and understand this dynamic segment. The report also provides rich insight into the road travel planning process, including the destination decision, advance versus last-minute travel planning, the impact of local travel deals, mobile and more.

Topics include:

  • General road traveler behavior, including travel incidence, trip distance, frequency and duration, as well as travel party composition and travel spend
  • Purchase incidence and booking trends for car rental, lodging and destination activities
  • Road trip motivators and destination selection, including timing, influential factors and information sources
  • Advance versus last-minute planning trends
  • Shopping and booking channels/methods
  • Impact of local travel deals and mobile

Purchase Phocuswright's Staying Local: A Study of the U.S. Road Traveler to gain the insights you need to effectively target and influence the U.S. road traveler.

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  • Overview Methodology and Research Highlights
    • Overview
    • Methodology
    • Research Highlights
      • One in four hit the open road
      • Hotels booked for just about every trip
      • Leisure activities essential to the experience
      • No car No problem
      • My way on the highway
      • Most trips short and local
      • Back seats empty
      • Expect the unexpected
      • Travel deals inspire spontaneity
  • General Road Travel Behavior
    • Quick Stats
  • Road Trip Motivation and Destination Selection
    • Quick Stats
    • The Destination Decision
    • Media Used for Destination Research
  • Shopping and Booking
    • Quick Stats
  • Sub-Section
  • Demographics
  • Sponsors

Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey November 13-30, 2012 through Global Market Insite, Inc., targeting the general population of U.S. adults who have Internet access.

To qualify for participation in the study, respondents had to have taken at least one overnight road trip for leisure in the past 12 months that included a stay in paid lodging and/or a rental car. Additional screeners required consumers to have played an active role in planning their leisure trips and to have selected at least one road trip destination independently within the past 12 months. Qualified respondents are referred to as "U.S. road travelers." This group represents 24% of the general U.S. adult population with Internet access. The term "lodging" refers to the broad range of paid accommodations – hotels and other nightly priced lodging products, as well as timeshares and vacation rentals.

Phocuswright received 5,151 qualified responses, and results can be projected on the U.S. adult population with Internet access at a 95% level of confidence, with a margin of error of ±1.4%. A total of 26,707 respondents were surveyed to obtain baseline metrics about travelers and nontravelers within the general online population. Totals may not always add to 100% due to rounding.

US $995 
CA $1,253 • £710 • €805
FREE for Global Subscribers
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