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The Motel 6 American Travel Study


“Been There, Done That,” They Said…
The United States is home to some of the world’s most iconic cities and tourist attractions stretching from coast to coast; however, the Motel 6 American Travel Study revealed that the average American has only visited 17 states in their entire life, and about half (48 percent) say they have visited only 10 states or less. On the other side of the spectrum, 18 percent of Americans have been to more than 30 states.

The least visited regions in the U.S. are Northwest (44 percent), and Northeast (31 percent). Astounding 78 percent of survey audience has been to Southeast, followed by 73 percent who claim they have been to Southwest states. Most popular destinations for the next state to travel to are: Hawaii (14 percent), Florida (11 percent), and California (10 percent).

When asked which of the following have you never experienced before in the United States, Americans responded:

  1. Visited the Great Lakes (40 percent)
  2. Seen the desert (34 percent)
  3. Been to a major mountain range (28 percent)
  4. Visited a National Park or landmark (26 percent)
  5. Visited a major U.S. city (13 percent)
  6. Visited amusement park/theme park (12 percent)
  7. Seen the ocean (10 percent)
  8. Touched snow (6 percent)

Experiential Travel
For most Americans, experience is the driving factor for vacationing, with nearly 50 percent listing outdoor activities and adventure as their number one travel priority. Yet the survey showed that almost 25 million Americans (10 percent) have never dipped their toes in the ocean and 15 million (6 percent) has never touched snow. More so, while Americans continue to show interest in travel led by outdoor leisure activities, nearly half have never skied or snowboarded (56 percent) or even been to a spa while on vacation (49 percent).

When asked what experiences are most important on vacation, Americans responded:

  1. Outdoor activities/adventure (46 percent)
  2. Culinary (41 percent)
  3. Cultural/historic (38 percent)
  4. Finding the “local” spots (31 percent)
  5. Meeting new people (24 percent)
  6. Taking guided tours (21 percent)
  7. Visiting urban areas (13 percent)
  8. Sporting events (12 percent)
  9. Socially responsible (6 percent)

Sightseeing Stars and Stripes
Though countless travelers come from all over the world to see the wonders of the United States, the Motel 6 American Travel Study shows that historical and political landmarks remain a neglected travel option as Americans are more likely to have visited an amusement park than a national park. More so, nearly half of Americans admit that they have never seen the White House (50 percent) or the Statue of Liberty (48 percent), even though 38 percent claim cultural and historic experiences are most important while traveling. Many Americans have yet to see some of the most iconic sights the United States has to offer, with Mount Rushmore as the least-visited landmark.

Americans disclose their least visited national treasures:

  1. Mount Rushmore (65 percent)
  2. Yellowstone National Park (59 percent)
  3. The Liberty Bell (58 percent)
  4. Hoover Dam (53 percent)
  5. Grand Canyon (51 percent)
  6. The Golden Gate Bridge (50 percent)
  7. The White House (50 percent)
  8. The Statue of Liberty (48 percent)
  9. The Empire State Building (48 percent)

Game Day Globetrotters
Sports remain a big part of Americans’ travel plans with 12 percent noting they would vacation for sporting events alone, yet many haven’t experienced a professional game in-person. Findings also reveal that millennials are twice as likely as Baby Boomers (19 percent vs. 9 percent) to consider sporting events a crucial travel activity. About seven in ten Americans have never been to a tennis match (70 percent) and more than half have never attended a NASCAR Race (67 percent) or NBA game (52 percent).

When asked what professional sporting events they’ve never attended, fans replied:

  1. Tennis Match (70 percent)
  2. Golf Tournament (68 percent)
  3. NASCAR Race (67 percent)
  4. Soccer Game (64 percent)
  5. NHL Game (57 percent)
  6. NBA Game (52 percent)
  7. College Basketball Game (48 percent)
  8. NFL Game (46 percent)
  9. MLB Game (38 percent)

Big City Breaks vs. Backroad Escapes
When it comes to urban adventures across America, about 32 million (13 percent) claim they have not been to a major U.S. city. Results of the Motel 6 Travel Study show that Boston, Mass. is one of the least-visited cities with half of Americans (50 percent) claiming they have never been to Beantown, and about two in five Americans have never visited San Francisco, Calif. (46 percent) or Los Angeles, Calif. (41 percent).

More data unveiled by The Motel 6 American Travel Study:

  • Travel to the West is in high demand: over 1 in 2 Americans (55 percent) would pick a state in the West for their next vacation.
  • Americans also show high interest in California with 1 in 10 claiming they would choose The Golden State as their next domestic travel destination.
  • More parents than those with no children (55 percent vs. 45 percent), report having been to only 1 in 10 states in their lifetime, and more people without children than parents with kids (33 percent vs. 25 percent) have been to 20 states or more.
  • Baby Boomers are more likely than millennials (60 percent vs. 50 percent) to choose a state in the West as their next U.S. travel destination.
  • Outdoor adventures are important for many travelers, but even the most popular recreational activities are not part of Americans’ travel itineraries, as many claim they have never experienced fishing (30 percent), camping (25 percent) or hiking (23 percent) while on vacation.
  • Men own the map: reports show that fewer women have traveled to the Southwest compared to men (77 percent vs. 69 percent), and more women than men have never been to the Northwest (49 percent vs. 39 percent) or the Midwest (33 percent vs. 26 percent). Additionally, more women than men have never been to Mount Rushmore (70 percent vs. 58 percent), The Liberty Bell (61 percent vs. 54 percent), Yellowstone National Park (64 percent vs. 54 percent) or the Grand Canyon (56 percent vs. 45 percent)

For more information regarding the “Motel 6 Travel Study” and how Americans can explore the United States with Motel 6, please visit www.motel6.com or follow the brand’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for even more travel inspiration!

About The Motel 6 Travel Study
The survey was conducted between December 15, 2016 and December 18, 2016 among 1,047 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure a reliable representation of the U.S. population 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.

In the Motel 6 Travel Study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percent, from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all personas in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.

About Motel 6
Motel 6 offers the lowest price of any national chain at its 1,350 company-owned and franchised locations throughout the United States and Canada. Growing faster than any of its competitors, Motel 6 has used the tagline, “We’ll leave the light on for you®” for more than 29 years, earning the chain the highest brand recognition in the economy lodging segment. Motel 6 offers standard amenities including Wi-Fi Internet access, free local calls, no long distance access charges, free morning coffee and expanded cable channel line-up. Most locations offer swimming pools and guest laundry facilities. Motel 6 is managed and operated by G6 Hospitality LLC. For more information, visit www.motel6.com.


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