Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 31st

Updated 8/31 at 11:30AM EST

 

As Americans see travel as a means to achieving their desired emotional states, their prioritization of travel in their personal budgets is growing. But safety confidence in travel is still greatly needed.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected August 28th-30th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • American travelers recorded another measured gain in optimism about the pandemic’s course in the next month.
  • The perception of travel activities as unsafe is the lowest it has been since June 15th.
  • Americans have also demonstrated improvement in their state of mind around travel readiness, and Fall travel expectations improved to 35.9% from a low of 29.8% last week.
  • Americans prioritization of travel in their personal budgets is growing. Now, 43.0% of American travelers say that leisure travel will be at least a somewhat high priority in their personal budget in the next year and a majority of American travelers say the pandemic has not negatively impacted the disposable income they have available for travel. However, they indeed plan on being more budget conscious on their trips than they were prior to the pandemic.
  • Although sentiment is turning more positive, the pandemic is nevertheless still impacting travel at a high rate. 49% of American travelers have cancelled a trip due to COVID-19 and trips for the upcoming national Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays currently look to be off by half relative to 2019.
  • Americans may need more information and assurances to move them to take trips, as 46.1% report that they are “not very” or “not at all” confident that they can travel safely in the current environment. In comparison, 29.7% feel confident or very confident they can travel safely.
  • Americans see travel as a means to achieving their desired emotional states, with over a third of American travelers feeling that if they took a trip this year, the emotions most negatively impacted by the pandemic would strengthen.
  • When asked how travel marketers could best reach them, email is productive across all generations. Gen X and Boomers appear particularly receptive to search engine marketing right now, while Millennial and younger travelers like travel marketing via Facebook and Instagram.
  • Americans with trips planned for the remaining 4 months of 2020 showed the most enthusiasm for beaches and mountains—the latter notably higher than what was typical pre-pandemic.

American travelers recorded another measured gain in optimism about the pandemic’s course. This week, 23.0 percent feel the situation in the United States will improve in the next month and 37.2 percent think it will stay the same. While 39.9 percent continue to think it will get worse, this is down markedly from 53.7 percent one month ago. The proportion of American travelers with high degrees of concern for their personal and friends/family’s safety against the virus has dropped back to June levels after being heightened over the last two months while cases surged. However, concerns about the virus’ impact on their personal finances strengthened (60.2% are highly concerned, up from 56.0% last week).

When considering travel, the perception of travel activities as unsafe is the lowest it has been since June 15th. Americans have also demonstrated improvement in their state of mind around travel readiness—over half feel in a readiness mindset versus needing more time to feel up to consider it. For the near-term, excitement to take a potential getaway in the next month and openness to travel inspiration levels increased for the second week in a row, and Fall travel expectations improved to 35.9% from a low of 29.8% last week.

 

 

As they look out over the next 12 months, Americans continue to demonstrate greater optimism about their travel future. Now, 43.0% of American travelers say that leisure travel will be at least a somewhat high priority in their personal budget, up from 34.7% just six-weeks ago. Fortunately, a majority of American travelers say the pandemic has not negatively impacted the disposable income they have available for travel (62.7%). In fact, reported annual budgets for leisure travel have increased to an average of $3,258 from $2,721 in July. However, with over a third of American travelers and concerns about the virus impact on finances still elevated, American travelers are indeed planning on being more budget conscious on their trips than they were prior to the pandemic.

 

 

Although sentiment is turning more positive, the pandemic is nevertheless still impacting travel at a high rate–49% of American travelers have cancelled a trip due to COVID-19–with concerns about personally contracting the virus the primary driver for abandoning travel plans. The peak summer period bore a particularly significant share of the scrapped trips.

 

 

In addition, trips for the upcoming national Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays currently look to be off by half relative to 2019. Americans’ travel plans for the Christmas holiday also appear to be muted relative to last year.

 

 

Perhaps most importantly, Americans may need more information and assurances to move them to take trips, especially as the strong majority do not believe the pandemic will be resolved before the end of the year. In total, 46.1% of American travelers report that they are “not very” or “not at all” confident that they can travel safely in the current environment. In comparison, 29.7% feel confident or very confident they can travel safely in the current environment.

When marketing travel right now, it’s especially beneficial to consider travelers’ emotional state, particularly those which they are most desiring of. Right now, feelings of safety, financial security, happiness, peace of mind and satisfaction are most important to American travelers right now. Unfortunately, the pandemic has significantly weakened Americans sense of the latter three emotional states, as well as excitement about the future. But Americans see travel as a means to achieving their desired emotional states, with over a third of American travelers feeling that if they took a trip this year, the emotions most negatively impacted by the pandemic would strengthen.

 

 

When asked how travel marketers could best reach them, email is productive across all generations. Gen X and Boomers appear particularly receptive to search engine marketing right now, while Millennial and younger travelers like travel marketing via Facebook and Instagram. As for what types of destinations that have the highest likelihood of generating excitement right now, Americans with trips planned for the remaining 4 months of 2020 showed the most enthusiasm for beaches and mountains—the latter notably higher than what was typical pre-pandemic*. While excitement about cities and theme park destinations still exists, enthusiasm for these destination types is farthest off from pre-pandemic norms, at least for the rest of 2020.

*Note: Our latest findings on aspiration for ski/snow destinations can be found here.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Outlook for Overnight Ski/Snowboarding Trips This Season

 

 

It comes as no surprise that the coronavirus has caused major disruptions to American’s travel plans. The summer season, typically a bustling time for travel and exploration, saw a decrease of 120 million trips compared to 2019 according to AAA. Now six months into this pandemic and with summer largely in our rearview mirrors, will the ongoing pandemic have a similar impact on the upcoming ski season? As part of Destination Analysts’ weekly Coronavirus Traveler Sentiment Index study, we surveyed 1,200 American travelers and asked them about their potential ski/snowboarding trips this winter season.

Although few (22.9%) feel taking a ski/snowboarding vacation this upcoming season is “safe” or “very safe,” in the context of other travel activities tracked, it is considered more safe than visiting amusement parks, dining in restaurants or staying in a hotel. When we look specifically at travelers who have taken a ski/snowboard trip pre-pandemic, their safety ratings for this trip type are even higher (57.9%) and by generation, millennials are more comfortable taking a ski/snowboarding trip this winter (32.6%) than older travelers.

 

 

This is likely due to the combination of enthusiasm about ski/snowboard trips, and optimism about the pandemic’s course. More millennials have taken a ski/snowboard trip in the past 3 years, and more millennials are likely to take a ski/snowboard trip in the next 3 years than average American travelers. When asked if they expect the Coronavirus situation will be resolved before the end of this year, Millennials were also more likely to agree (28.9% vs 19.3%).

 

 

When it comes to timing for these overnight ski/snowboarding trips, January and February appear to be the preferred months with about one-third of travelers (who said they were “likely” or “very likely” to take a ski/snowboard vacation in the next 3 years) choosing each as their likely trip month.

How do these upcoming ski trippers anticipate traveling to their snowy vacation destinations? Half (51.6%) will travel solely by car and a third (34.7%) will fly. Interestingly, millennials from this group are even more likely to travel to their ski/snowboarding destinations in the upcoming season by air (42.9%).

 

 

With these younger travelers being less hesitant to fly, the opportunity for them to discover new ski/snowboarding destinations is apparent. In fact, millennials are almost twice as more interested in visiting new ski/snowboarding destinations than the average American traveler (38.4% vs. 22.5%). With their higher levels of optimism about the pandemic’s course, high enthusiasm for taking overnight ski/snowboarding vacations in the upcoming season and openness to discover new ski/snowboard trip destinations, the coronavirus seems to be “snow problem” for millennials this winter.

Engaging Millennial Meeting Planners

The Millennial generation will soon comprise the greatest number of decision-making professionals, so during our webinar on August 18th, Senior Research Director, Myha Gallagher, interviewed a panel of Millennial-aged meeting planners to discuss potential changes and trends in the meetings and events industry to see how travel providers can and should evolve to meet their needs.

Watch the video below for highlights from this discussion.
 

 

After our discussion, we followed up with these planners to dig more deeply into some of the topics covered in the panel. Here are the key takeaways:

 
Although Millennials are known for their prolific social media usage, email is the best way to reach these planners. You can increase the chances of younger planners engaging with your email content if you include a catchy subject line that hints at what is new and exciting about your destination/hotel.

If you are also trying to engage younger planners on social, LinkedIn is the best way to do so. Although there is some interest in following general destination social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, Millennial planners generally use these channels in a personal capacity rather than professional meeting planning tools.

Communication style should strike a balance between “professional” and “personable.” These planners appreciate a more humanistic touch when it comes to travel providers reaching out to them, but straying too far into casual turns-of-phrase can be a turn off.

 

You can also read the full Q&A below:

 
Q: Do you feel that most of your time is spent updating stakeholders, like your Boards and keeping them up to date on your site selections, health and safety initiatives, etc.?

– “While we are in the site selection process, yes, it’s pretty all consuming. We often try to book 3-4 years ahead, and then focus on the meeting planning for a couple of years before we have to pick up the site selection process again. We are wary to book too far out due to liability and the potential of the meeting needs or format changing.”

 

Q: What’s the best way to share video and other destination content and updates with Millennial Meeting Planners?

– “Email is good – put something in the subject line about a tip to help limit liability, or a great new destination we might not have considered.”

 

Q: As a planner, how do you broaden your horizons and learn about new destinations to get out of the “we have always held meetings in the same old cities” without exploring new destinations through their CVB’s?

– “I get a couple of meeting planner magazines I like to flip through. The most compelling eye-opener I ever saw was a 10-minute talk kicking off the MPI Congress in Indianapolis, IN. They had the Indy CVB there and they shared facts about Indy that I never knew as far as meeting planning, and that has put it on the map for me.”

 

Q: How do you use social media for your work and do you think that’s a good way to reach you – i.e. through LinkedIn and Facebook/Instagram?

– “LinkedIn I use actively for work and will respond quickly to a message directed at me if it comes from an industry partner, and not just a random solicitation. Facebook/Instagram is personal and while I am connected with some industry “friends” I do not use it as a business means.”

 

Q: Would meeting planners use or follow a dedicated destination social media account that was focused on meetings and things to do with a meeting in a specific destination? Or would you rather follow the general destination’s social media account?

– “General – many of my meetings jump around the country or the world, so I’m always keeping my eye out for the next place we should go. I’ve not been tied closely enough to one city to just want to keep up-to-date on what’s going on there.”

 

Q: Should younger generations be trained to write more professionally in emails? Or should we embrace their conversational style as a generational identity?

– “I appreciate professionalism even as a millennial, and don’t like getting overly-casual emails. Now if we get on the phone, feel free to be much more casual. I prefer to feel like we are making a genuine connection as we build the relationship.”

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 24th

For Americans with trip plans in the remainder of 2020, beaches, destinations they have visited before, restaurants, time with loved ones, and finding peace of mind are top-of-mind.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected August 21st-23rd.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Americans’ optimism about the pandemic improving grew this past week. Nearly one in five feel the pandemic will be resolved before the conclusion of 2020.
  • Three-quarters of American travelers continue to report that they at least have tentative leisure trip plans in the next 16 months, although leisure air travel still looks to take until at least 2021 until Americans are back to pre-pandemic comfort levels.
  • For the remainder of 2020, approximately one-third of American travelers have at least tentative trip plans.
  • In looking further at Americans with plans to travel this year, nearly half say that the COVID-19 situation has changed the travel experiences they are seeking. These travelers continue to most commonly express that spending time with loved ones is paramount, and look to be prioritizing enjoying nature, avoiding crowds. The pursuit of relaxation and finding peace of mind, amidst having fun and happiness will also be key in these travelers’ plans.
  • In terms of the destinations that will be chosen for trips in the remainder of 2020, 70.4% of these travelers say they are likely to return to a destination they have previously visited, 42.0% still plan to visit a beach this year, 37.8% say they will visit a city, and 34.8% name small towns and rural areas as a trip destination.
  • Half of American travelers report dining out at a restaurant in the past two months and 20.5% say they have visited an outdoor attraction. For those who have not engaged in these activities, general coronavirus safety concerns, particularly the ability to maintain social distancing, are the top reasons for their avoidance.
  • When it comes to the pandemic’s impact on in-person education and the consequent travel plans of parents of school-age children, 37.2% say the uncertainty has made them more likely to travel this Fall, while 20.4% say it makes them less likely.

Americans’ optimism about the pandemic improving grew this past week. Now 42.7% feel it will get worse in the next month, down from 49.1% last week and 22.0% feel it will get better, up from 18.2%. Nearly one in five feel the pandemic will be resolved before the conclusion of 2020 (19.2%). High levels of concern for personal health and financial safety, while elevated, remain stable. About 40% of American travelers continue to report feeling comfortable undertaking leisure activities within their own communities. Perceptions of the safety of travel-related activities overall remains at mid June levels, rather than the heightened levels recorded throughout July.

 

 

Three-quarters of American travelers continue to report that they at least have tentative leisure trip plans in the next 16 months. However, leisure air travel still looks to take until at least 2021 until Americans are back to pre-pandemic comfort levels as 45.0% say they are pushing their next air trip out to mid 2021 or later. For the remainder of 2020, approximately one-third of American travelers have at least tentative trip plans.

The pandemic, of course, has impacted how Americans consider travel and their trip experiences—even those who already have trips planned for the remainder of the year. Nearly half of these travelers say that the COVID-19 situation has changed the travel experiences they are seeking (49.1%).

 

 

In looking further at Americans with plans to travel this year, these travelers continue to most commonly express that spending time with loved ones is paramount, and look to be prioritizing enjoying nature and avoiding crowds. The pursuit of relaxation and finding peace of mind, amidst having fun and happiness will also be key in these travelers’ plans. Nevertheless, while nearly 40% say they will prioritize excitement and energy and seeing new places, there are many who say they will prioritize budget travel and staying close to home. In fact, 33% say they will be taking a staycation* this year and 53.9% say they will be taking a regional trip under 200 miles.
(*Note: Unfortunately, over half of staycationers say that this will mean mostly staying at home instead of exploring or staying overnight in a local hotel).

 

 

In terms of the destinations that will be chosen for trips in the remainder of 2020, 70.4% of these travelers say they are likely to return to a destination they have previously visited, up from 60.7% the week of June 15. 42.0% still plan to visit a beach this year, 37.8% say they will visit a city, and 34.8% name small towns and rural areas as trip destination. Again, the prioritization of spending time with loved ones is clear, as it tops the trip activities they most want to do, followed by dining out in restaurants and sightseeing.

Given what Americans with trip plans this year most say they want to do on their trips, it was a good time to examine recent dining out and visiting outdoor attractions behaviors. Half of American travelers report dining out at a restaurant in the past two months and 20.5% say they have visited an outdoor attraction. For both activities, less than 5% of those who report doing them said they felt unsafe during their experience. What is deterring others from patronizing these types of businesses? For restaurants, those who haven’t dined in a restaurant lately cite general coronavirus safety concerns, including social distancing, and thus feeling takeout continues to be safer. Similarly, for outdoor attractions, general COVID concerns, particularly social distancing, are top deterrents. For both activities, about one third of those who haven’t done them recently cited their concern about the behavior of others as a reason for their avoidance.

 

 

When it comes to the pandemic’s impact on in-person education and the consequent travel plans of parents of school-age children, these travelers were asked if any uncertainty about in-person education has made them more or less likely to travel this Fall. In total, 37.2% say the uncertainty has made them more likely to travel, while 20.4% say it makes them less likely. Interestingly, those that are certain that their kids will have in-person education this school year were even more apt to say that they were likelier to travel this Fall.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 17th

Increasing feelings of safety are driving more positivity about tourism—both outbound and within their own communities. And as Americans look out to upcoming holidays, there is a gradually increasing expectation to travel for these occasions.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected August 14th-16th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Pandemic-related health and financial safety concerns have dropped to levels last seen in mid-June. Although there are still notable levels of pessimism, less Americans are feeling the pandemic will worsen in the next month.
  • The proportion of American travelers who feels comfortable going out in their own community now exceeds the proportion who do not. And they are getting more comfortable with tourism to their own communities.
  • Safety perceptions of travel activities have improved overall, nearing June levels. Thus, the percent of Americans who report being in a “ready to travel” state of mind is now higher than those who report needing more time to feel ready.
  • Those with trip plans for the remainder of the year are commonly prioritizing getting away from crowds and enjoying nature, in addition to spending time with loved ones.
  • As Americans look out to upcoming holidays, there is a gradually increasing expectation to travel for these occasions: Labor Day (12.6%), Thanksgiving (15.8%) and Christmas (20.0%).
  • Looking even further out over 2021, three-quarters of Americans have at least tentative trip plans right now. Just 25% say they have no plans to travel through 2021.
  • About 30% would be up for taking a flight in the next month, although there is somewhat more comfort with direct flights than those that require a connection.
  • A majority of American travelers approve of travel restriction policies imposed by state governments on travelers from high outbreak areas.

This week, Americans report feeling safer in a number of areas that affect their travel feelings and behaviors.

Pandemic-related health and financial safety concerns have dropped and are at levels last seen in mid-June. Although there are still notable levels of pessimism, less Americans are feeling the pandemic will worsen in the next month. The proportion who feel comfortable going out in their own communities exceeds the proportion who do not. And while 56.5% still do not want visitors in their communities yet, this is the lowest this sentiment has been since the week of June 15th. Also, for the first time since June 29th, the percent of Americans who said they would be happy seeing an ad promoting tourism to their community has exceeded the percent who would be unhappy.

 

 

Perceptions of how safe travel activities are have improved overall, nearing June levels. Staycation-ing and the avoidance of conferences and group meetings have declined. Given all these sentiments, the percent of Americans who report being in a “ready to travel” state of mind is now higher than those who report needing more time to feel ready.

 

 

Those with trip plans for the remainder of the year are commonly prioritizing getting away from crowds and enjoying nature in addition to spending time with loved ones. However, there is also an important proportion who are prioritizing experiencing new places and excitement in their travel.

 

 

As Americans look out over upcoming holidays, there is a gradual expectation to travel for these occasions: Labor Day (12.6%), Thanksgiving (15.8%) and Christmas (20.0%). Looking even further out over 2021, three-quarters of Americans have at least tentative trip plans. Just 25% say they have no plans to travel through 2021.

 

 

When it comes to air travel, approximately 30 percent would be up for taking a flight in the next month, although half of this group would still be nervous. There is somewhat more comfort with direct flights than those that require a connection. When asked to rate the most unsafe aspects of air travel right now, the behavior of other passengers is far and away what concerns travelers the most.

 

 

Current domestic travel restriction policies intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 seem to largely be accepted at the moment. When asked about the policies of some U.S. states requiring that travelers from high coronavirus-risk states take actions such as presenting a negative COVID-19 test or quarantining for 14 days, 62.4% of American travelers say they approve or strongly approve of such travel restrictions right now. 24.6% feel neutral and 12.9% disapprove.

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 10th

Younger travelers drive some positive movements in travel sentiment this week, while Colorado, Alaska and Montana join the usual suspects of top aspired destinations for the next year.

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected August 7th-9th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Americans of all ages continue to say staying safe from infection is their top lifestyle priority over the next half-year. Compared to two months ago, younger travelers are now further prioritizing many psycho-emotional needs like escaping stress and relaxation, while Baby Boomers are placing less emphasis on these.
  • Nearly 6-in-10 agree that planning a vacation for sometime in the next 6 months would bring them happiness.
  • Driven by younger travelers, excitement for near-term travel and openness to travel inspiration returned to levels last seen in early June, and there was a small increase in travel readiness.
  • Compared to how they felt in April, Americans are now less likely to agree that the types of travel destinations they choose will change after the pandemic, and less likely to say they will avoid many types of experiences.
  • Colorado, Alaska and Montana have joined Florida, Las Vegas, California and New York as some of the top destinations Americans are saying they most want to visit in the next year.
  • Americans find airline, hotel and restaurant discounts most appealing.
  • Convention travelers’ trust in their fellow attendees to behave in a way that minimizes the spread of COVID-19 has lessened slightly.

This week, over half of Americans say they continue to feel that the pandemic will worsen in the US in the next month and concerns about health and financial safety remain elevated. Thus, Americans of all ages continue to say staying safe from infection is their top lifestyle priority over the next half-year. However, compared to two months ago, younger travelers are now further prioritizing many psycho-emotional needs like escaping stress and relaxation, while Baby Boomers are placing less emphasis on these.

As we have said previously, fortunately, travel is well positioned as a wellness activity in the American psyche. Nearly 6-in-10 (57.3%) agree that planning a vacation for sometime in the next 6 months would bring them happiness.

 

 

Driven by younger travelers, excitement for near-term travel and openness to travel inspiration returned to levels last seen in early June, and there was a small increase in travel readiness this week. The overall perception of the safety of travel activities improved slightly, as well.

Compared to how they felt in April, Americans are now less likely to agree that the types of travel destinations they choose will change after the pandemic, and less likely to say they will avoid many types of experiences, like air travel, specific foreign destinations and the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.

 

 

 

 

Nevertheless, outdoor experience-driven places like Colorado, Alaska and Montana have joined the usual suspects like Florida, Las Vegas, California and New York as some of the most popular destinations Americans are saying they most want to visit in the next year. These destinations have edged several urban destinations out of the top spots on the destination Hot List.

 

 

While Americans have a complicated relationship with travel discounts right now due to the pandemic’s impact on safety perceptions, when asked about several types of discounts Americans say they find airline, hotel and restaurant discounts most appealing.

 

 

This week, 14.1% of American travelers report having at least tentative plans to travel to a convention, conference or other group meeting between now and 2021. About 60% of these travelers report that this travel will take place this year, while the remaining 40% say it will be in 2021. Compared to how they felt in May, convention travelers’ trust in their fellow attendees to behave in a way that minimizes the spread of COVID-19 has lessened slightly. In total, 57.9% of convention travelers say they at least “somewhat” trust their fellow attendees, down from 60.7% in May.

 

 

A complimentary report of these key findings is available for you to download and share.
You can register for our online presentation of these findings Tuesday at 11:00am EST.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here. Please consider donating or purchasing to support this research.
To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.
If you need shareable graphics, content for presentations, video presentations and more, please visit our COVID-19 Insights Media page here.

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 3rd

While those with trip plans largely say they are headed to beaches and other nature-based destinations, over half of American travelers don’t have leisure trip plans for the remainder of 2020. Can they be motivated?

 

 

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected July 31st-August 2nd.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Many Americans shifted from feeling the pandemic would get worse in the next month to feeling things would be about the same.
  • Concerns about personally contracting the virus have been elevated among Millennial travelers over the past month.
  • The proportion of American travelers that say they would be happy to see an ad promoting their community for tourism when it is safe has receded to 29.1% from 35.8% at the end of June.
  • Right now it appears the regional effects and response to the pandemic will have a lingering impact on destination brands. Nearly one-third of American travelers say they are less likely to visit the American destinations that they most associate with Coronavirus-related issues, even after the pandemic ends.
  • American travelers are also more polarized in their travel readiness state of mind. While 48.5% report having leisure trip plans during one or more months in the remainder of the year, sadly, 51.5% do not currently have any leisure trip plans in 2020.
  • Those who do not have trip plans this year are, unsurprisingly, more concerned about the virus, but interestingly less likely to be travelers that typically visited National Parks and other types of public lands prior to the pandemic.
  • Among those that will be traveling in 2020, plans for their next trip are largely well-formed, with beaches, National Parks and other rural areas most cited as the destinations.
  • Over one third of American travelers with school-age kids say they are more likely to take family trips this fall if their children do not have in-person education; 21% feel less likely.

A proportion of Americans shifted from feeling the pandemic would get worse in the next month (53.7% down from 61.5%) to feeling things would be about the same (30.3% from 23.8%). Still, relatively few think things will improve (16.0%). With reported cases increasing among younger people, concerns about personally contracting the virus have been elevated among Millennial travelers over the past month.

 

 

With these ongoing feelings about the pandemic, the proportion of American travelers that say they would be happy to see an ad promoting their community for tourism when it is safe has receded to 29.1% from 35.8% at the end of June.

 

 

Right now it appears the regional effects and response to the pandemic will have a lingering impact on destination brands. Nearly one-third of American travelers say they are less likely to visit the American destinations that they most associate with Coronavirus-related issues, even after the pandemic ends. In addition, 53.7% say that if a destination they are currently interested in visiting experiences difficulty managing the coronavirus situation, they will be less likely to visit even after the pandemic is over.

American travelers are also more polarized in their travel readiness state of mind, being ready to travel versus not. While 48.5% report having leisure trip plans during one or more months in the remainder of the year, sadly, 51.5% do not currently have any leisure trip plans in 2020.

 

 

Those who do not have trip plans this year are, unsurprisingly, more concerned about the virus, and maintaining their safety from it has had a greater impact on their travel plans and their desire to travel. They look to currently be postponing travel to mid 2021. Compared to those who are taking trips this year, they don’t travel quite as often (an average of 4 leisure trips per year compared to 5), but are just as likely to be affluent and skew female. Interestingly, they are less likely to be travelers that typically visited National Parks and other types of public lands prior to the pandemic—currently the more popular destinations of choice for the coronavirus period—which perhaps is also impacting their decision not to travel right now.

Among those that will be traveling in 2020, plans for their next trip are largely well-formed, with beaches, National Parks and other rural areas most cited as the destinations.

 

 

One of the segments more likely to have trip plans in 2020 are those with school-age kids. When parents of school-aged kids were asked about their likelihood to take family trips this Fall if their children do not have in-person education, 34.5% of these parents say they are more likely to take such trips; 21% feel less likely.

 

 

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