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2016 Summer Traveller survey reveals Americans are planning to travel to Europe and Cuba

Press release   •   Jun 30, 2016 11:00 BST

ROCKVILLE, Maryland, June 30, 2016: Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), 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 travellers, showing that they have international travel in their sights. More than half (51%) plan to travel to Europe in the next year and 58% say they would consider travelling to Cuba at some stage once the travel embargo is lifted. Reasons for visiting Cuba include the unique cultural experience (44%), 42% say for the food, while the motivation for 15% are Cuban cigars.

Half of those planning to visit Europe say the main reason for their trip would be to visit Europe’s cultural and historical monuments (50%), 32% want to enjoy Europe’s outdoors and nature, with just under a quarter (24%) planning to visit friends and family.

When booking a European hotel room, 64% would expect to enjoy free Wi-Fi and just under half (47%) say a complimentary breakfast would be one of their key requirements, while 41% would require the hotel to offer a restaurant or bar. Hotel room price is what annoys American travellers most when booking a hotel room in Europe (42%).

Commenting on the findings Mark Pearce, senior vice president, international division, for Choice Hotels: “US travellers need look no further than staying at one of our 300 or so Comfort or Quality brand hotels in Europe. Not only do they offer free Wi-Fi, but they offer price conscious travellers an excellent added-value economy and mid-market hotel experience. Whether they are sightseeing or visiting family we can offer them nearly 500 Comfort, Quality, Clarion or Ascend Hotel Collection hotels in the main European capital cities through to the French Riviera, Germany’s Black Forest, Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the UK’s West Country and Scandinavia’s Arctic Circle.”

Other key findings about what Americans are considering when making their trip plans include:

  • Loyalty programmes drive trip decisions. Almost two-thirds (66%) of travellers say that loyalty programmes 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. However, almost half of Americans (44%) have a lot of hotel loyalty points stashed up, but no time to use them.
  • Road trips are in. 72% of travelers are going by car this summer – road tripping to their destinations across the United States.
  • Doing it for the Instagram. Almost one in 10 travellers say their summer travels are motivated by the opportunity to brag about on social media to friends and family.
  • Mighty maids. Almost half (42%) of travellers like to stay in a hotel during the summer because they don’t have to clean the bathroom.
  • Work. Work. Work. Work. Play. Three in five (62%) business travelers add leisure vacations onto their business trips.
  • Kids? What kids? Nearly three in four (74%) of business travelers extend their business trips with leisure time as a way to have free time away from their spouse and/or kids.

The survey also uncovered different travel personality archetypes of American travellers. Types identified included Luxury Travellers (16%), those that like high-end vacations, with luxury treatment from start to finish; Experience Travellers (26%) who are all about the experience and activities while traveling; it’s about the journey, not the destination for these adventurers. Last, are Social Travellers (8%) who are all about beefing up their social media game and travel for social media bragging rights.

Choice also offers an upscale hotel experience through its Ascend Hotel Collection specifically for luxury travellers looking for the 5 star treatment. Ascend Hotel Collection members are distinctive, independent hotels that are located in prime business or leisure travel destinations, providing guests with an upscale boutique hotel experience with superior service. In Europe Ascend properties exist in Edinburgh, Stockholm, Nice and Dublin.

Pearce added, “With three in five American business travellers 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 Choice branded properties from business centers to craft beer bars and properties in key business travel and vacation destinations.”

Survey Methodology

Research findings are based on a survey fielded in the United States in March 2016. For this survey, 1,000 adults 18+ who have traveled in the past year for leisure were asked about their thoughts regarding various aspects of travel and specifically summer travel. Of the 1,000 leisure travelers, those who had traveled for business in the past year were also asked a series of questions. The survey was completed through Lightspeed GMI’s double opted-in panelists who have registered to participate in online surveys. 

Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) is one of the world's largest lodging companies. With more than 6,500 hotels franchised in more than 40 countries and territories, Choice Hotels International represents more than 500,000 rooms around the globe. As of June 30, 2017, 792 hotels were in our development pipeline. Our company's Ascend Hotel Collection™, Cambria™ hotels & suites, Comfort Inn™, Comfort Suites™, Sleep Inn™, Quality™, Clarion™, MainStay Suites™, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel™, Econo Lodge™, Rodeway Inn™, and Vacation Rentals by Choice Hotels™ brands provide a spectrum of lodging choices to meet guests' needs. With more than 33 million members and counting, our Choice Privileges™ rewards program enhances every trip a guest takes, with benefits ranging from instant, every day rewards to exceptional experiences, starting right when they join. All hotels and vacation rentals are independently owned and operated. Visit us at for more information.

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