New Research Highlights Americans' Travel Preferences

For centuries, Nazaré was a traditional seaside town where Portuguese fishermen taught their children to avoid the huge waves that crashed against the nearby cliffs.

Whereas Euromonitor International released a new report on megatrends of the travel industry in the future, Morning Consult just released new research about Americans’ travel preferences and their views on different travel brands.

Their study collected research on Americans’ favorite airlines, hotels, and methods of travel, and broke down that research often by age.


When it comes to airlines, 49% of Americans choose Southwest Airlines as their favorite airline. This was followed by American Airlines at 47% and Delta at 46%. While United had a 46% positive outlook from Americans, it also had the highest unfavorable rating at 23%, followed by Delta and American. Even budget airline Spirit had a less unfavorable rating than American at only 14% compared to American at 16%.

According to the research, American travelers believe that cost and comfort has worsened with airlines over the years, so it’s no surprise that the most important things American travelers consider when booking a flight are the cost of tickets and free checked luggage, followed by comfort/legroom.

Hotels versus Airbnb

Flight Attendant and Family (Photo via Hawaian Airlines)

With the rise in popularity of Airbnb, travelers may find it surprising that only 71% of Americans have heard of Airbnb, versus 90% who have heard of chain brands like Motel 6, Marriott, and Hilton.

Americans are more likely to book a hotel from Marriott or Best Western than an Airbnb. Regardless, Americans aren’t very brand loyal with their hotels. Only 24% say they have a preferred chain.

The only group that tends to favor Airbnb are American Millennials. Whereas only 27% of Gen X and 23% of Boomers would use Airbnb, 36% of Millennials say they plan to use the booking service.

General Travel Trends

Americans love to travel by car, citing that it’s more fun, efficient, is less of a hassle, and cost-efficient compared to flying or taking a train or bus.

Regardless of how they travel, Americans prefer relaxing vacations that are affordable. Though Millennials would rather go abroad, half of Americans’ favor traveling domestically with Hawaii as their top destination.

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