Summer, the season of long-awaited vacations to glamorous destinations is sure to be different this year – another aspect of the enormous changes due to COVID-19. Although some families and would-be travelers have opted to cancel traditional vacation plans altogether, a new summer trend seems to be emerging – and it just might give new meaning to the grassroots term, “go local.”

Summer 2020 could see the return of the all-American road trip as many seek to plan vacations closer to home. With incredibly low gas prices, safety concerns around flying, and the country-wide loosening of restrictions, this growing trend could help hotels bounce back from the crushing economic impact of coronavirus.

Travelers Forgo Flights for Nearby Locales

Encouraged by record-low gas prices, many travelers could decide to move forward with their domestic vacation plans as states cautiously restart their economies.

In fact, according to a recent survey by travel app Gas Buddy, 31% of Americans are planning to go on a road trip this summer. [1] Though that number is down a bit from last year, it could increase, as 51% say they still haven’t decided on their summer travel plans. With 36% canceling previous plans that required flying due to concerns about coronavirus, cabin fever could still be enough to encourage drivable destinations this summer instead.

Hotels Hit Hard Could See an Uptick in Business

It’s difficult to find a part of the economy not affected by COVID-19, but one of the sectors ready to rebound in the coming months is the hospitality industry.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association recently petitioned Congress for help in the next stimulus package.[2]  Their plan, entitled a “Roadmap to Recovery,” includes measures to incentivize travel with a new, temporary travel tax credit and the restoration of the business entertainment expense deduction. In addition, the industry has responded to reduced coronavirus restrictions by instituting new standards for cleanliness and safety, hoping to encourage consumer confidence. [3]

Even with coronavirus uncertainty lingering, many travelers still want to vacation this summer – without taking on a high level of risk. Planning a trip to US landmarks and local attractions while gas prices are low and social distancing is possible could be the travel trend of the summer.

US hotels located near these desirable drivable destinations are uniquely poised to reap the potential rewards of a desperately needed uptick in business. Those boasting outdoor amenities or situated in areas with open spaces should fare even better since the extra room makes it easier for guests to practice social distancing.

A May article from Hotel News Resource reports positive findings for roughly 1,200 hotels gearing up to reopen. [4]  An analysis of their available rate data shows key milestone dates for opening as mid-May, June 1st and July 1st, with June 1st as a clear opening date for most of these hotels.

They report that 30% had rooms for sale in the first half of May, and 57% of those hotels were planning to be open by the end of May. A bigger jump in business is predicted for June 1st with over 80% of those hotels selling for that date or later. Following June 1st, the upward trend continues.

Ultimately, after months of the shutdown and sheltering in place, Americans are more than ready for a break. Our CEO, Jeff Sica, recently weighed in about the hospitality industry on FOX Business’s Varney & Co., “the industry that is going to have the biggest resurgence when things improve. People who have been locked in their houses for this long are going to be excited to travel, to get out.”

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[1] (Press Release,, May 2020)

[2] (Press Release,, May 2020)

[3] (Press Release,, May 2020)

[4] (Skodol,, May 2020)