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New National Travel MONITOR Survey reveals shifting accommodation preferences

Independents and limited-service properties grow in popularity

The current economic environment is apparently influencing consumers’ interest in certain types of lodging accommodations as revealed in the just-released Ypartnership / Yankelovich 2009 National Travel MONITOR. Compared to last year, preference for independently operated hotels and resorts is up, while preference for chain-affiliated properties is declining. Leisure travelers are also more likely to cite “value for the price” as a key consideration when selecting lodging accommodations…

The current economic environment is apparently influencing consumers’ interest in certain types of lodging accommodations as revealed in the just-released Ypartnership / Yankelovich 2009 National Travel MONITOR. Compared to last year, preference for independently operated hotels and resorts is up, while preference for chain-affiliated properties is declining. Leisure travelers are also more likely to cite “value for the price” as a key consideration when selecting lodging accommodations.

Although preference for independent lodging is growing (now cited by 20% of all leisure travelers), it is still important to note that 8 out of 10 leisure travelers prefer chain-affiliated accommodations. This preference has declined significantly from the level recorded last year (84%), however. Also, compared to last year, leisure travelers are more likely to prefer a limited-service hotel or motel without a restaurant (40% versus 34%), and less likely to prefer one that offers full service with a restaurant (60% versus 66%).

“The growth in preference for independent hotels and resorts appears to be driven by two factors,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnership, the nation’s leading marketing agency serving travel, leisure and entertainment clients. “First, a growing number of consumers appear more interested in the novelty and/or special character many independent operators have scripted into their properties. Second, the quest for better value, now defined in terms of a more attractive price, appears to be motivating many leisure travelers to evaluate independent alternatives.”

The top three factors leisure travelers consider when selecting lodging accommodations are “value for the price,” the “location of the property,” and the “room rate.” While location and room rate were cited by essentially the same percentage of respondents in both 2008 to 2009, “value for the price” increased significantly from 82 percent to 88 percent (82% to 88%). Another apparent contributor to the perception of good value, a complimentary breakfast included with the room rate, jumped from 51 percent to 58 percent (51% to 58%). And it is interesting to note that the influence of a recognizable brand name decreased significantly from 51 percent to 44 percent (51% to 44%).

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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