New ASTA Research Reveals Travel Top Priority for Consumers

Travel tops consumer wish lists over all other discretionary spendings, with nearly eight out of 10 (77 percent) Americans indicating that they would pick a vacation experience over a new computer, television, virtual reality headset or gaming console, according to new consumer research published by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) on Thursday.

The study found that many Americans are not only prioritizing travel but are planning and willing to spend more to make it happen. Forty percent of survey respondents said that “nothing” will stop them from taking a vacation while one-quarter of American travelers plan to take a “dream vacation” in the next six months.

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Although the vast majority of travelers are feeling the impact of inflation on consumer goods, 40 percent are spending more on travel in the balance of the year and a whopping 75 percent of Americans plan to spend the same or more on travel in 2023, ASTA’s research shows.

In terms of return on investment, nearly half (48 percent) of consumers feel that travel is the best investment compared to other discretionary spend categories right now, even more than buying a new car (21 percent).

Revenge travel continues to be an impactful trend, with 70 percent saying that travel is a reward for what they have “had to deal with” over the past two years. Two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans also self-report that they ascribe to the “YOLO” adage or “You Only Live Once” when it comes to post-pandemic travel.

The upcoming holiday travel season is projected to be a busy one, the research shows, with 64 percent of travelers heading out of town for Thanksgiving, 66 percent having travel plans in December and 38 percent having travel arrangements for New Year’s Eve.

“This research shows that Americans not only want to travel, they need to travel,” ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement. “However, they also believe travel tends to be inherently expensive, complex, and lacking in customer service. The value of an ASTA travel advisor has never been clearer.”

“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),” added Kerby. “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.”


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