Summer is underway and U.S. travelers are ready to celebrate the Independence Day holiday weekend. As vaccination numbers increase and COVID restrictions have eased or lifted in many states, hotel stays are being booked further in advance of any holiday since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to travel technology firm Amadeus, all of the top 10 markets for Independence Day weekend travel were over 68% occupancy two weeks prior to the holiday. Current overall U.S. occupancy leading up to the holiday is 37%, which is a 236% increase over 2020.
At the height of the pandemic, the U.S. saw ADR decline to $94 in April 2020. Looking ahead to the 2021 Independence Day holiday, ADR is currently at $170 for the region, a 25% improvement over the 2020 holiday performance and closely aligned with pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019.
The top 10 markets are in Hawaii; Florida; beach destinations in Maryland and South Carolina; and cities close to national parks. Two weeks prior to the Independence Day weekend there were 44 markets at or over 50% occupancy.
A change from previous holiday periods, markets over 50% occupancy are more broadly spread throughout the U.S., perhaps reflective of reduced COVID restrictions across the country. Florida and California have the highest number of markets over 50% occupancy. Interestingly, Hawaii only has three markets over 50% occupancy, though all of them are included in the top 10 markets for the holiday. As reference, for Memorial Day, the states with the highest number of markets over 50% occupancy were Florida, Texas and California.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, the most significant volume of bookings (72%) were made within seven days of travel. For Independence Day 2021, there was a significant increase in booked occupancy in the weeks leading up to the holiday when compared with the previous year. As of June 18, 57% of bookings were being made within seven days of travel compared to 44% in 2019, creating optimism for occupancy growth in the final days leading up to the holiday weekend.
Air travel searches in the month of June indicate that people are ready to venture beyond domestic borders. Of the 50 top searched destinations for travel around the holiday, 17 are international. Amadeus identified the following top five flight destinations for the Independence Day holiday weekend with Hawaii leading the list, matching the top hospitality market:
- Cancun, Mexico
- Los Angeles
- New York
(Source: Amadeus Travel Intelligence Portal as of June 18)
Top international destinations where American travelers are headed for the holiday weekend are Mexico (Cancun and Cabo), Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.