What Are They Thinking? Sources for Insights on the Hospitality Consumer

“Research about consumer behavior will be more valuable than ever,” topped the list of 7 predictions for 2022 made by Bob Gilbert, President and CEO of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, in January on hospitalitynet.  Many members might argue that his sixth prediction, “The focus on talent and the talent pipeline will be a priority for all hospitality companies,” should have been first. Regardless of whether or not priority was intended, both statements are true. And, in both cases, there is an overwhelming amount of information and analysis meant to help you forge a path forward. Wading through them, and finding the ones you find really helpful may take time you don’t have.

What follows is a look at some of the resources on consumer insights and trends. A list with links is provided below, if you’d like to bookmark one or two. In some instances, you can sign up to receive notification when new information is released. These are some of the sources we have taken to reviewing with more regularity on your behalf, now that pandemic response has given way to pandemic recovery and opened up time for us to shift our focus a bit.

Some sources are generalized to the hospitality and travel consumer and some are specific to the sector conducting the research. Some are solely focused on consumers and some have consumer insights included as part of a larger economic or trend analysis. Some give you a local look and others are national or international in focus. None are gospel.

Our most well-known and consistent resources at Hospitality Minnesota come from the national associations that we work in partnership with on advocacy, member benefits and training — the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. For a specific look at Minnesota, we rely heavily on our partners at Explore Minnesota Tourism and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota, both for the quarterly survey on economic conditions we conduct with them, but also for their work outside our partnership. We also turn regularly to the work of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus for insights.

We’ve come across some other great resources in the past year, as we work to understand changes to the hospitality consumer marketplace and provide you with relevant intel and programming. You’ll find some of those listed below. One source that has become a favorite in the past year is Morning Consult. They offer a number of resources online, or as a free download with registration, and they have a number of different sector- or issue-specific emails you can sign up to receive. Their data visualizations are terrific.

In the end, at the core of great hospitality is how well you understand the needs and expectations of YOUR guests, and the best insights will come from them. Ask them and track your own data, and then follow your instincts to build the offerings that will result in the experience for which you want to be known. If we can help, let us know.

Here are links to a variety of sources offering insights on consumer trends and behavior, mostly for 2022. It isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list but a starting point. If there are others you think we should include, send us a message. We’ll add it to the list. We’ll be posting this resource in the Hospitality Minnesota Member Portal for you to have at hand in the future.

National Partner Sources

National Restaurant Association (NRA)
All members of Hospitality Minnesota enjoy NRA membership privileges. If you have an issue accessing member benefits, contact us for login credentials.

American Hotel and Lodging Association
The AHLA offers some of their research and reports at no cost to non-members. Contact us if you if you are not able to access something of interest to you, we may be able to help.

National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC)
ARVC resources are free to members and à la carte to nonmembers.

Minnesota-Specific Sources

Explore Minnesota Tourism

Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus

Other, Sector-Specific Sources


Boutique and Lifestyle Leaders Association

World Food Travel Association

Camper Smarts


Other Sources We Like:

Morning Consult




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