- Travelers still prefer chain hotels, even if vacation rentals are growing in popularity, according to decision intelligence company Morning Consult’s The State of Travel and Hospitality report for the second half of 2023.
- Vacation rental usage peaked in summer 2023, but rentals typically experience a sharper fall in travel volume in the autumn shoulder season than hotel brands do.
- Travel brands can drive additional volume by luring secondary audiences — as opposed to core customers — during their off-seasons, Morning Consult advised.
The high rates of vacation rental usage this summer show that — despite increased regulations or dismay over hidden fees — travelers are still opting for non-hotel accommodations, according to the report.
However, vacation rentals will need to significantly “overperform” to keep those numbers up in the fall.
Business travelers, though, are increasingly booking alternative accommodations, the report found. And the share of travelers who will stay at a chain hotel on an upcoming business trip is down 9 points since late 2021.
Still, chain hotels are the undisputed leader when it comes to U.S. travelers. Of American adults surveyed, 17% said they will stay at a chain hotel for leisure in the next three months, and nearly half of those with travel plans in the next three months expect to stay at a chain hotel.
Of those staying at chain hotels, suburban travelers lead, though the number of rural guests is up. Chain hotel guests also lean slightly older, with the share of Gen Z travelers declining.
Notably, travel volume is up, though trust is not. While consumers are taking vacations, “they’re still on the fence about companies in the industry, and delays and disruptions owing to high volume may further erode travelers’ faith,” the report read. Chain hotels, however, remain more trusted than vacation rentals and airlines.
Morning Consult’s report is based on multiple datasets, including research conducted between October 2021 and August 2023 among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults each month, as well as surveys conducted between January 2021 and July 2023 among 14,000 adults worldwide.