Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
25 Hotel, Airline & Travel Statistics To Know Before Your Next Vacation 
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Both the hospitality and airline industries took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, but have you ever wondered just how much revenue and jobs were lost? Is the travel and vacation industry changed forever or has 2022 been a comeback year?
Our team did some digging into datasets from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as travel industry and airline sources and experts to find the 25 most compelling statistics everyone needs to know before planning their next vacation.
According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, in 2020, hotel room revenue fell by nearly 50% across the U.S. to just $85.9 billion, then rebounded to $142.7 billion in 2021. This means that over those 2 years, hotels lost a collective $111.6 billion in room revenue alone. It is projected that by the end of 2022, room revenue will reach nearly $188.4 billion, which would be an 11% jump since 2019.
These numbers could indicate that the hotel industry is making a comeback and a strong one at that.
Hotel Revenue Statistics
- In 2019, the nation’s nearly 56,000 hotels experienced an average annual hotel occupancy of 66%, selling 1.3 billion rooms.
- The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought hotel occupancy to a historic low of 24.5% in April 2020.
- Annual hotel occupancy in the U.S. overall fell to roughly 44% in 2020.
- Hotel occupancy is expected to average 63.4% for 2022, approaching pre-pandemic levels.
- Nominal hotel room revenue is expected to surpass 2019 levels by the end of 2022.
- Hotels are projected to generate $43.8 billion in state and local tax revenues in 2022, up 6.6% from 2019 levels.
Hotel Employment Statistics
- In 2019, U.S. hotels directly employed more than 2.3 million people. As a result of pandemic-related travel drops, hotels finished 2021 at about 70% of their 2019 employment levels.
- By the end of 2022, hotels are expected to employ 1.97 million people — 84% of their pre-pandemic workforce.
- By the end of 2022, there will still be an employment deficit of nearly 400,000 jobs, or 16%, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
- The hotel industry is not expected to reach 2019 employment levels until at least 2024.
The summer of 2022 felt like the summer of cancellations and delays for a lot of Americans traveling by plane. The excitement of traveling again came with its fair share of hiccups (and lots of customer complaints).
- Operated flights in June 2022 were up 3.4% year-over-year from the 564,583 flights operated in June 2021 and down 1.3% month-over-month from the 590,957 flights operated in May 2022.¹
- In the first quarter of 2022, passenger demand increased, with U.S. airlines reporting 66.4 million originating passengers in the first quarter of 2022, up 9.1% from 60.8 million passengers in the first quarter of 2020.²
- Domestic flight bookings in February 2022 drove $6.6 billion in online spending, 6% above 2019 levels during the same month.³
- There was a 6% increase in air travel service complaints from July 2022 to August 2022, and complaints are more than 320% above pre-pandemic levels.²
- In August 2022, airline carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 75.6%, up from 74.9% in July 2022 and down from 77.6% in pre-pandemic August 2019.²
- Flight problems were the highest category of complaints received in August 2022. Of the 7,243 complaints received, 2,321 (32.0%) concerned cancellations, delays, or other deviations from airlines’ schedules.²
- Baggage was the second-highest category of the complaints received in August 2022. Of the 7,243 complaints received, 1,675 (23.1%) concerned baggage issues.²
General 2022 Travel Statistics
With the talk of inflation looming over the heads of Americans, travel might be one of the top luxuries cut to help stick to budgets, but some stats show that Americans are eager to get out of their homes and hit the air or road.
- In 2020 alone, the travel and tourism sector lost $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs.⁴
- 47% of business travelers have extended a business trip for leisure purposes in the past year, and 82% are interested in doing so in the future.⁵
- In 2021, domestic business travel spending remained 56% below 2019 levels and international travel spending remained 78% below 2019 levels.⁵
- As of October 2022, American travel spending is up 6%, which is the highest level since the pandemic started.⁵
- International tourism reached 57% of pre-pandemic levels in the first 7 months of 2022.⁶
- An estimated 474 million tourists traveled internationally between Jan 2022 and July 2022, compared to 175 million in the same months of 2021.⁶
- For the second quarter of 2022, the 10 U.S. airlines posted an involuntarily denied boarding, or bumping, rate of 0.36 per 10,000 passengers, higher than the rate of 0.17 in the second quarter of 2021 and higher than the rate of 0.31 in the second quarter of 2019.²
- Inflation is changing 2022 holiday travel — of the 43% of U.S. adults planning to travel for the 2022 holidays, about 8 in 10 of those travelers (79%) are changing their plans this year due to inflation and rising prices.⁷
It goes without saying, the travel and hospitality industries were hit hard during the pandemic. Jobs were lost, which led to staffing shortages, and travel was restricted, which led to huge revenue losses for airlines and hotels. As Americans are starting to get back into the swing of traveling we now have inflation and the rising cost of gas, airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc. As you head out on your next trip, whether that be for business or pleasure, it’s always best to pack your patience.
- U.S. Department of Transportation. (2022, August 26). Air Travel Consumer Report: Consumer Complaints Up from May, Nearly 270 Percent Above Pre-Pandemic Levels. https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/air-travel-consumer-report-consumer-complaints-may-nearly-270-percent-above-pre
- Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (2022, October 26) Air Travel Consumer Report: August Consumer Complaints Up 6 Percent from July, More Than 320 Percent Above Pre-Pandemic Levels. https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/air-travel-consumer-report-august-consumer-complaints-6-percent-july-more-320-percent
- Adobe. (2022, March 15) Adobe Digital Economy Index: Domestic flight bookings back to pre-pandemic levels. https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2022/03/15/adobe-digital-economy-index-domestic-flight-bookings-back-to-pre-pandemic-levels
- Masiga, J. (2002, June 30) What next for travel and tourism? Here’s what the experts say. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/06/what-next-for-travel-and-tourism-industry-experts-explain/
- U.S. Travel Association. (2022, October 27). The Latest Travel Data. https://www.ustravel.org/research/monthly-travel-data-report
- World Tourism Organization. (2022, September 26). International Tourism Back to 60% Of Pre-pandemic Levels in January-July 2022. https://www.unwto.org/news/international-tourism-back-to-60-of-pre-pandemic-levels-in-january-july-2022
- Sandberg, E. (2022, October 4) Inflation, rising prices causing 79% of holiday travelers to change their plans. Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/survey-holiday-travel/
Featured Image Credit: Prostock-studio via Adobe Stock
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