For those you who may have missed it, summer officially started last week, and that means vacations for most people. Vacations, which used to be regarded as a luxury, have become a necessity in today's world. Nearly 95% of folks we polled in our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index indicated they had no intentions of cutting back on their vacations.

This year, the top-5 U.S. destinations turned out to be the usual suspects:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Orlando
  3. Hawaii
  4. New York City
  5. Washington, DC/Los Angeles

For those hankering for foreign climes, the top-5 cities ranked like this:

  1. London
  2. Rome
  3. Paris
  4. Barcelona
  5. Dublin/Prague

That consumers are not giving up travel does not mean that they've stopped looking for good deals. So when it came to "value" here's the top-5 rankings of the four categories of hotels we track:


  1. Inter-Continental
  2. Ritz Carlton
  3. Four Seasons
  4. Fairmont/W Hotels


  1. Hilton
  2. Marriott
  3. Hyatt
  4. Doubletree/Embassy Suites


  1. Best Western
  2. Hampton Inn
  3. Ramada
  4. Holiday Inn


  1. Days Inn
  2. Quality Inn
  3. Econo-Lodge
  4. Travelodge
  5. Motel 6

George Bernard Shaw wrote, "The great advantage of a hotel is that it's a good refuge from home life." But the need to relax, recreate, and re-charge is taking precedence no matter what the economy or the cost of gasoline and airline baggage fees.

So for most Americans, another thought is true: a vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking anymore!