SOURCE: Expedia

Expedia

March 02, 2012 11:21 ET

Expedia Study Outlines Economic Impact on Travel in America: Americans Today Likelier to Traverse the Country Than the World

New Study Reveals 23% "at Least Somewhat Likely" to Travel Internationally in Coming Year; 41% Have Driven Across the United States

BELLEVUE, WA--(Marketwire - Mar 2, 2012) - Expedia.com®, the world's leading online travel agency, today released the results of a study of American attitudes in today's economy as they relate to domestic travel, international travel, hotel selection criteria and social media. The American Traveler survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia from February 16-20, 2012 among 2,262 adults ages 18 and older. Among other findings, it revealed that a full 41% of Americans -- and nearly 1 in 2 men (49%) -- have driven across the United States at one point. Just under one in four Americans (23%), and one in three students (31%) are "at least somewhat likely" to travel internationally in the next year.

Forty percent of Americans report the economic downturn over the past few years did not impact their personal/leisure travel. They "travel as usual," particularly those between 35 and 44 years of age (46%). A percentage of young men (13%) and women (14%) aged 18 -34 are taking more trips these days, perhaps because a down economy prompts travel destinations to sweeten deals.

"This study, combined with our own data, tells us a lot about how Americans are traveling in today's economy. Our data shows that even though Americans are taking fewer flights, they are booking more hotel nights. We believe that Americans are proving to be resilient in a down economy, by driving instead of flying and taking more frequent, shorter trips," said Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. "The study also showed how important friends and family were to the travel experience. Friends and family were the most important resource when choosing a hotel. Social networks are enabling new reach when seeking advice on travel, and we are thrilled to be able to help share that knowledge."

Eighty-one percent of Americans have visited at least one of twelve major U.S. landmarks in their travels. Approximately one third of people have visited the National Mall in Washington DC, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canyon, while approximately one in four have visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Route 66, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Alamo.

Expedia's American Traveler study also found that:

Social media keeps travelers connected.

  • 75% of those who travel use social media.
    • 51% of those users do so to stay connected while on a trip regularly or periodically.
    • 18 - 44 year olds are more likely than those aged 45 or older to use social media sites to connect with others during trip.

For some American families, social media is connection enough.

  • 12% of Americans say they are less likely to visit their family in person thanks to social media, while 25% say they are more likely to visit family in person.
  • Among those who use Feedback to connect with family members, younger adults aged 18 - 34 (22%) and those living in the West (22%) are significantly more likely to indicate that they are less likely to visit family.

78% of Americans rely on reviews to provide direction when selecting a hotel.

  • The primary review source is friends and family (51%).
    • A slightly higher percentage cited friends (44%) than cited family (40%).
  • The hotel's own web site is the second-most important source of reviews (47%).

Men are more likely to have ever driven cross-country than women (49% compared to 34%).

  • Both genders still dream of the open road: 25% of men and 33% of women have "not done so but always wanted to" drive across the country.
  • Westerners are more adventurous, with 57% having made the cross-country vehicle journey, significantly higher than those in the Northeast (31%).

13% report having purchased travel via a "flash sale".

  • Young adults aged 18 -34 (24%) and those living in the West (21%) were most likely than their counterparts to have done so.

About Expedia.com
Expedia.com is the world's leading online travel site, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and in-destination activities, attractions, and services. With the Expedia Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel.

Expedia, Expedia.com and the Airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners. © 2012 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2029030-50

Survey Methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia from February 16th - 20th, 2012 among 2,262 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Sarah Keeling or Devon Nagle at the information below.