A joint study, released in April by the Travel Industry Association and American Express Co., profiled what U.S. citizens do on vacation—rather than what they fantasize about—and pointed to ways that industry marketers can capitalize on these findings. "While the American love affair with the vacation trip is still strong, this research reveals that the travel industry has the opportunity to do much more to enhance the vacation experience for travelers of all ages, family types and motivations," said Lisa Gregg, VP-marketplace development/North America at American Express. The online survey was based on a representative sample of 2,500 vacationers.
- Approximately 124 million U.S. residents took a vacation in 2006, with the average traveler taking three trips per year.
- The typical household spends $1,500 per trip, and travels an average of 1,200 miles from home. Vacationers take at least two trips annually that include hotel stays—but the most common accommodations are friends' or families' homes or moderately priced hotels.
- Unfortunately, many vacationers return from their trips unfulfilled. Money ranked by far as the largest barrier to achieving an ideal vacation, according to the survey, but family and work responsibilities also weigh heavily on vacationers' trip satisfaction.