Travel spending in the U.S. ticks up, led by alternative lodging

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Travel spending in the U.S. ticks up, led by alternative lodging
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Cardlytics, a platform that analyzes both online and in-store purchases from more than 140 million bank customers in the United States, says it is seeing signs of recovery in most sectors of travel.

Its most recent dataset, based on spending through June 17, shows consumers have been spending more in recent weeks as states reopen.

While spending through travel aggregators and agencies bottomed out the first week of April at -93% as compared to that period in 2019, for the week beginning June 11 spending was only down 68% year-over-year. 

Similarly, spending directly with airlines, which was down 93% year-over-year the first week of April, has edged up to -69% between June 11 and 17.

Lodging is also showing improvement -- most recently down 40% compared to the same period in June 2019, which is up from a low of -86% year-over-year in April. Cardlytics says most of that spending has been going to alternative lodging and homestay companies such as Airbnb.

"As we know, Covid-19 has changed consumer behavior. Across the board, disruptors are rapidly gaining a foothold over their traditional counterparts. We've seen the shift in spend toward e-commerce retailers, online grocery, third-party restaurant delivery and now, alternative lodging," says Sasha Trifunac, vice president of travel and entertainment partnerships at Cardlytics.

"By Memorial [Day] weekend, alternative lodging was already back to pre-COVID growth in spend and by mid-Jun had accelerated to +28% year-over-year. In comparison, traditional hotel brand remained down -64% year-over-year. Because alternative lodging is typically paid for in advance while traditional hotels are paid upon checkout, some of the differential is an early indicator of upcoming travel spend.

"However, the dramatic recovery of alternative lodging has far outpaced for many weeks the much slower recovery in traditional hotel spend and seems to indicate an accelerated adoption of vacation rental disruptors."

Cardlytics data indicates car rental recovery has stalled at around -40% year-over-year since the end of May, but that is up from a bottom of -73.8% in April.

The only sector not showing signs of recovery is cruise, which has been down more than 80% year-over-year since mid-March and remains there now in June.

Cardlytics says its system has insight into one out of every two card swipes in the U.S., equating to more than $3 trillion in annual spend.

Source: PhocusWire

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