It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for travel

Who's going where and when this holiday? All the travel stats

Despite concerns about gasoline prices, rising airfares and hotel costs, almost half of all consumers — 47% — are planning to travel this holiday season, keeping up the trend we saw last year when 52% made travel plans. 

Those who plan to travel are big spenders overall: At an average of $2,441 this holiday season, they will spend upwards of $1,000 more than the average consumer — on gifts, travel and entertainment. 

While travel by car remains the mode of choice (69%), air travel has picked up again this year. Almost half of travelers — 46% — plan to fly, up from 40% in 2021 and 33% in 2020. Of course, many will use a combination of air and road travel to reach their final destinations.

Almost half of travelers — 46% — plan to fly, up from 40% in 2021 and 33% in 2020.

Who’s going where?

Millennials lead the way, with 63% planning to travel this holiday, followed by Gen Z at 58%. Most travelers will take a break from work (57%) while 29% will combine work and play. For those who plan to travel internationally, 43% will combine work and play, as will 41% of travelers who call metro areas home — likely a reflection of new remote work options that allow employees to work from anywhere.

More men than women (55% v 43%) plan to travel, and millennial men are slightly more than twice as likely to travel internationally (21%) as all travelers (10%). Online booking sites are popular with 45% of travelers and 58% of high-income millennials while booking directly with suppliers is preferred by 31% of travelers and 46% of high-income baby boomers.

Keep travelers coming back

With pandemic-related concerns receding, travelers are more likely to stay at hotels and rentals this year on holiday trips. What do they look for when they travel? In a recent consumer loyalty survey, 61% told us they seek out hotel and airline loyalty programs that offer flexible reward options (compared to 43% for all industries). 

They also want hotels and airlines to remember their preferences (23% v 14% for all industries). A modernized loyalty program can help travel brands provide the meaningful interactions their customers seek as well as anticipating what they might be looking for next. 

Consumers have already told us meaningful interactions matter: More than half (52%) will switch travel brands after a single bad experience with products or services (compared to 37% for all industries) and 45% will switch after a bad experience with customer service (v 32% for all industries).

How well do you know your customers?

Despite uncertainty about a volatile economy and concern about rising prices, consumers want to travel this holiday. Their loyalty, however, can be fleeting: one bad experience and they’re gone. 

The good news? Meaningful experiences that combine a deft mix of human touch and digital efficiency matter to travelers. Advanced customer analysis tools can help deliver those experiences as well as anticipate what travelers want next — and respond accordingly.

Contact us

Jonathan  Kletzel

Jonathan Kletzel

Airline and Travel Practice Leader, PwC US

Barbra Bukovac

Barbra Bukovac

Vice Chair, Consumer Markets, PwC US

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