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Despite more holiday travelers, hotel industry still facing empty rooms

The hotel industry is planning for a better holiday season compared to last year, but most people still plan to stay home.

Nearly 30% of Americans are likely to travel for Thanksgiving and 33% for Christmas, according to a survey commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and conducted by Morning Consult.

Among those planning to travel, most will drive — 68% for Thanksgiving and 63% for Christmas — and fewer than 25%  will book hotels, the rest will stay with family and friends. 

“While vaccines have helped travelers feel more comfortable, rising gas prices and continued concerns about the pandemic are making many Americans hesitant to travel during the holidays, “ Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO said in a press release.

Business travel makes up the main source of hotel revenue — that’s not projected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. The industry has been pushing Congress to pass legislation that would cover up to three months of employee payroll for hotels that saw revenue drop at least 40%.

Morning Consult Survey Methodology: The poll was conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2021, among a national sample of 2200 Adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.