Consumers Will Travel Less This Holiday Season and Seek More Budget Friendly Travel Options, According to Deloitte Survey
Consumer Demand for Green Travel Continues Despite Difficult Economy
NEW YORK, Current economic conditions are expected to result in reduced consumer travel this holiday season, according to a new Deloitte survey. The consumer survey confirms that the 2008 winter holiday travel season will be slower than 2007 due to the economy, higher airline prices and other strains on consumers' wallets. Travel during the next 12 months is expected to slow as well, with 38 percent of respondents reporting they will spend less on vacation or leisure travel in the coming year.
The economy was a key factor in why consumers are cutting back, with 51 percent citing economic concerns as the main reason. Other top responses included no longer having extra cash (50 percent), and higher airline and/or lodging prices (46 percent).
"Holiday travel will undoubtedly be slower this season as consumers look to weather current economic conditions," said Adam Weissenberg, Deloitte's U.S. Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure leader. "A large portion of the population will still take trips, and with lower gas prices and good deals on lodging, we anticipate that travelers will look for more budget friendly travel options by staying closer to home."
Regarding travel habits, 40 percent report that they will change their overnight vacation/leisure travel habits this holiday season. Of those, 53 percent will be spending fewer nights away from home, 45 percent will spend less on entertainment/activities and 43 percent plan to stay with friends and relatives. Additionally, 66 percent of all respondents said they have become more cost-conscious when they travel and 69 percent will try to be more flexible about travel dates in order to save money.
Difficult Economic Picture Doesn't Slow Demand for Green Travel
Green travel continues to be an important focus for consumers, despite difficult economic times. The Deloitte survey found an increase in the number of consumers who try to be green when they travel, at 48 percent this year - up seven percentage points from last year's survey.
"People are looking to bring their green living habits to their travel experience and they are increasingly demanding more sustainable lodging options," added Weissenberg.
According to the survey, travelers expect lodging facilities to recycle (80 percent), use energy efficient lighting (75 percent), use energy efficient windows (60 percent), use environmentally safe cleaning products (57 percent), have water-saving devices in rooms (50 percent), provide local transportation options (50 percent) and use renewable energy (40 percent).
"Hospitality executives looking to acquire new customers and grow in these difficult economic times can benefit over the long term with investments in sustainability initiatives, including retrofitting existing properties to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and building new properties to LEED standards," said Weissenberg. "We anticipate that the regulatory environment around issues such as carbon emissions accounting, reporting and compliance will likely become more stringent in the coming years. Hospitality companies should prepare now for pending legislation on these issues to mitigate risk and seize sustainability opportunities."
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