According to the latest travelhorizons survey, consumers’ travel intentions are on the upswing; this suggests business should pick-up for travel affiliates and other players in the travel industry value chain.

travelhorizons is a quarterly survey of the travel intentions of American consumers that are screened through “the lenses of emerging economic, social and political developments.”  The latest survey, which was conducted between July 21-28, 2009, found that approximately two-thirds (63%) of U.S. adults now expect to take at least one trip for leisure purposes between August 2009 and January, 2010.

Although this represents only a 2% increase from travelhorizons’s July survey results, the impact and implications on the U.S. travel industry are enormous: according to the study’s authors, Ypartnership and the U.S. Travel Association, if American travelers act on their stated intention, this will translate into an estimated 142 million U.S. adults taking at least one overnight trip during the next six months.

In the press release announcing the latest monthly results gleaned from this nationally-representative survey, Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association said: “Americans’ continued strong interest in travel and positive perceptions of its affordability are positive signs for the industry,” adding that “The cost of travel remains at historic lows, giving consumers phenomenal options and the opportunity to stretch their dollars farther.”

Although consumers remain very concerned about having sufficient money for travel, the majority of adults who participated in the survey and intend to travel said mitigate their concern by spending less on travel services this year compared to last.  And what is also very important from a travel affiliate perspective, these travel consumers intend to “…comparison shop for deals, especially online.”

Elaborating on travel consumers’ spending concerns, Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnership said “These results reaffirm our belief that downward pressure on the average household budget continues to present the biggest challenge for the industry, not interest in or the desire to travel… and that’s precisely why value remains king for U.S. travelers.”

Another component of the monthly travelhorizons survey, the Traveler Sentiment Index (a derivative of six variables measured in the quarterly survey) also reflected the consumers’ improved sentiment in July.  The Traveler Sentiment Index has been calculated each calendar quarter since March, 2007, at which time it was pegged at 100.

According to Ypartnership, after falling slightly between February and April 2009 to 89.1, the index has since risen three points, to 92.1.  All six of the index indicators displayed gains from the last calendar quarter with the exception of one: “money available for travel.”

TravelDividends thinks that this small – but critical – upswing in travel consumer confidence may be a mirroring of the similar conviction that’s underpinning Wall Street’s recent breathtaking rise. Of course, only time will tell.

What are your thoughts on the potential impact and implications of the travelhorizons’ findings on your travel affiliate programs? Are you seeing the consumer confidence expressed in the survey translating into sales?  If you’d like to share your thoughts, kindly note them in our comment box or send us an email.

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