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Summer travel spotlight: What to expect from American travelers this season

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Choice Hotels reveals the top findings from its annual summer poll of American leisure and business travelers.

ROCKVILLE, MD - With gas prices down and more money in the pockets of Americans, Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the world's largest hotel companies, reveals the findings from its annual summer travel survey, which tracks the travel habits of American leisure and business travelers.

Here's what Americans are considering when making their summer travel trip plans:

  • Leisure travelers are out in force. Loyalty programs drive trip decisions. Almost two-thirds (61%) of travelers say that loyalty programs and points impact where they choose to stay on vacation. And 57% say they save up all their hotel loyalty points to use toward a summer vacation.
  • Road trips are in. 72% of travelers are going by car this summer – road tripping to their destinations.
  • Doing it for the Instagram. Almost one in 10 travelers say their summer travels are motivated by the opportunity to brag to friends and family on social media.
  • Mighty maids. Almost half (42%) of travelers like to stay in a hotel during the summer because they don't have to clean the bathroom.
  • Cuba in the pipeline. 58% of Americans say they are likely to visit Cuba once the travel embargo lifts, however 42% say they would not visit in the first year.
  • American travelers are having a hard time getting away from work.
  • Loyalty points in the bank. Almost half of American travelers (44%) have a lot of hotel loyalty points stashed up, but no time to use them.
  • Work. Work. Work. Work. Play. Three in five (62%) business travelers add leisure vacations onto their business trips.
  • Kids? What kids? Nearly seven in ten (69%) business travelers extend their business trips with leisure time as a way to have free time away from their spouse and/or kids.

Travel Archetypes

The survey also uncovered different travel personality archetypes of American travelers, who they enjoy travelling with, and who they can't stand traveling with.

Experience Travelers (26%): These travelers are all about the experience and activities while traveling. It's about the journey, not the destination, for these adventurers.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: Experience, Local, Nature
  • Who they can't stand traveling with: Control Freaks, Luxury, Social

Budget Travelers (19%): While these travelers may not get everything on their wish list, they maximize their opportunities within their budget.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: Budget, Experience, Local
  • Who they can't stand traveling with: Control Freaks, Luxury, Social

Luxury Travelers (16%): These Americans like high-end vacations, with luxury treatment from start to finish, from dining at the best restaurants to shopping at the high end stores.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: Luxury, Experience, Social
  • Who they can't stand: Luxury, Control Freaks, Budget

Nature Travelers (9%): Exploring the outdoors and having nature experiences like camping while traveling is what these travelers prefer.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: Nature, Experience, Local
  • Who they can't stand: Control Freaks, Social, Nature

Local Travelers (9%): Authentic experiences and steering away from tourist traps drive these travelers. Going off the beaten path to explore hidden gems that locals hold as best kept secrets makes for a great trip.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: Local, Experience, Social
  • Who they can't stand: Control Freaks, Luxury, Social

Social Travelers (8%): It's all about beefing up their social media game for these travelers. They travel for social media bragging rights.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: Social, Experience, Local
  • Who they can't stand: Control Freaks, Budget, Social

History Travelers (7%): These adventurers seek out trips that have rich history to experience and explore. They love standing where famous people once stood and integrating themselves into the culture.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: History, Experience, Local
  • Who they can't stand: Control Freaks, Social, History

Control Freak Travelers (6%): Organizing and planning every detail of the trip is what these travelers live by. And when things don't go according to plan, the stress kicks in.

  • Who they enjoy traveling with: Control Freaks, Luxury, Experience
  • Who they can't stand: Control Freaks, Luxury and Local

"As we swing into the summer travel months, Choice is here to help travelers go from work to play. American travelers are finding it difficult to make that work/life balance distinction which gives us a great opportunity to help make the transition from business to leisure traveler convenient," said Pat Pacious, President and COO, Choice Hotels. "With three in five business travelers saying their only vacations are when they tack on leisure trips to their business endeavors, brands like Choice work hard to offer the best of both worlds at our properties from business centers and free WiFi to craft beer bars and properties in key vacation destinations."

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