Hotels.com examines how travelers' search patterns and preferences changed during the pandemic
Haven't planned a trip in a while? You aren't alone. Americans haven't taken a proper spring break trip in nearly three years, and in that time, the travel landscape has changed and travelers' preferences along with it. That's why Hotels.com analyzed searches on its site and mobile app from the past three years to identify the most in-demand and out of touch amenities so far in 2022.
"The pandemic impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, including how we search for our next hotel stay," said Mel Dohmen, senior brand manager at Hotels.com. "The amenities we love and are looking for in 2022 reflect everything we've felt and experienced over the past few years. From hotels that helped us relax and take the edge off to those that complemented new hobbies like cooking and skiing, there's a lot to learn about where travelers are going this year based on how they search for the perfect hotel stay."
Key findings from the 2022 Hotels.com Amenity Report include:
Stressed much? Searches for bathtubs surge
Call it a cry for help or just good old-fashioned self-care, but bathtubs were the most-searched hotel amenity during the peak of the pandemic. Searches so far this year are up 25% compared with 2019 and interest in spas have grown, too (+35%).
New hobby alert: We ski now
The pandemic forced everyone to get in touch with their outdoorsy side, so it's not all that surprising that searches for ski-in/ski-out hotels are at peak levels, up 50% since 2019. Interest in properties with ski shuttles and storage are also up 20%.
Cooking at home and the hotel
From baking bread to trying out that crazy TikTok pasta, kitchens were all the craze as the second most sought-after amenity in 2021. The trend is continuing with kitchen searches increasing 15% year-over-year.
No Wi-Fi, no problem
Zoom meetings and doom scrolling aren't on the itinerary this year as searches for properties with free Wi-Fi are plummeting, down 50% since pre-pandemic.
We have no business here
Travelers are tired of work from home and turns out they really don't want to work from anywhere else, either. Searches for properties with business facilities are down 40% compared with 2019.
WHAT'S TRENDING NOW
Dude, where's my car
Don't retire that road trip playlist just yet. Searches for properties with free parking are up 70% this year as travelers continue to favor destinations within driving distance.
For those who can't stand another 10-hour drive, you aren't alone. Searches for properties with free airport transfers are up a whopping 105% so far this year.
We're **finally** taking a family vacation
Families have desperately missed out on quality vacation time together and it shows. Searches for properties with cribs (+65%), childcare (+45%) and connecting rooms (+20%) have increased double digits.
And let's not forget the fur children, too. Interest in pet-friendly stays is up 35% in 2022.
Working out while on vacation
Working out really wasn't a top priority during the pandemic. Searches for gyms were down 30% or more last year compared with 2019. However, in 2022 travelers are getting back into their wellness routine and year-over-year searches for gyms have increased 65%.
Breakfast is back
Free breakfast has been the top amenity since pretty much the beginning of time. But the pandemic knocked this fan favorite down a few pegs as hotels traded hot buffets for pre-packaged grab-and-go items. This year, breakfast is back and searches are up 75%.
HOW YOUR STATE STAYS: SPRING BREAK EDITION
Ahead of spring break, Hotels.com also explored top-searched travel destinations and amenities to see how each of the 50 states and D.C. find the perfect stay. Top regional trends include:
- Star Ratings: Northeasterners prefer 4-star properties with free parking. While Southerners are okay with 2.5-star stays, so long as they come with free breakfast.
- Amenities: Arizonans and Californians look for pet-friendly properties, while travelers in Maryland, Louisiana and Ohio just want to soak in a bathtub.
- Destinations: Midwesterners prefer midsize cities like Omaha and Oklahoma City to metropolitan areas. And residents in Southwest states (Arizona, Nevada) are most likely to choose California.
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