America’s hoteliers are projecting a busy year despite rising prices for travel and dining.
That’s according to a Sunday (Feb. 19) report by The Wall Street Journal, citing recent comments from hotel chain executives.
“It is abundantly clear that people love to travel,” Marriott CEO Tony Capuano said this week.
Added Mark Hoplamazian, chief executive of rival Hyatt Hotels: “Leisure is showing no signs of slowdown whatsoever.”
It’s not just hotels seeing this trend. As PYMNTS wrote last week, the “resilient consumer wants to get away from it all — and keeps spending to do so.”
In this case, they were spending on Airbnb units, as that company released earnings showing that global travel remains buoyant, and cross-border travel in particular has been increasing as Asian countries ease their COVID restrictions.
The company’s earnings showed that gross booking value rose 26% year on year, to $13.5 billion, not counting foreign exchange impacts. Nights and experienced books were up 20% in the most recent quarter as measured against last year, to 88.2 million.
“We had our highest number of active bookers ever in Q4, demonstrating guests’ excitement of the travel on Airbnb, despite evolving macroeconomic uncertainties during the quarter,” CEO Brian Chesky told analysts during an earnings call.
Business travel in the U.S. has improved as well, the WSJ report said.
“We came out of the gate in January with travel being strong, especially commercial,” said Joe Ferraro, CEO of car-rental company Avis Budget Group. “There is probably some leisure in there as customers who travel commercially then stay a little bit extra and take in some leisure activities, which has certainly helped,” he said.
The sentiment isn’t felt across the board, the WSJ notes. Tripadvisor CEO Matt Goldberg said some consumers are paying closer attention to the cost of trips and could adjust plans.
“We may see fewer, shorter trips,” he said. “The weekend getaway is going to be really interesting. But ultimately, travelers are protecting the discretionary spend in travel at the expense of other discretionary categories.”
Recent research by PYMNTS bears that out. Last year saw consumers spend on leisure travel across all income categories, something that may not happen again this year, according to “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report: The Economic Outlook and Sentiment Edition,” a PYMNTS and Lending Club collaboration.
“Among paycheck-to-paycheck consumers, regardless of whether they struggle to pay their monthly bills, 30% plan to spend on leisure travel,” the study said, even though research showed that 8.7% of respondents who spent on leisure travel last year say they won’t in 2023.