Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of September 20th

Resigned that COVID is not going away anytime soon, the majority of travelers support regulations proposed to enhance traveler safety—from NFL games to the office. Fortunately, feelings of normalcy and optimism are starting to return and more Americans are once again marketable for travel.

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Since March 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data from 1,200 American travelers collected September 15th-17th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • After an anxious period, feelings of normalcy and optimism are starting to return. This week, 24.0% report feeling the U.S. has a significant degree of normalcy, up from 21.6% the week of September 6th. This sentiment has improved most among Gen X travelers (28.6%, up from 21.7%) and travelers who reside in the Southern region of the U.S (23.8%, up from 16.1%). Those pessimistic about the pandemic’s course over the next month is at 38.9%, a significant drop from September 6th when it hit 51.2%. Meanwhile, optimism bounced up to 30.2% from 23.7%. Younger travelers remain more optimistic, as do those that reside in the Western and Southern U.S.
  • More Americans are now marketable for travel. The percent of Americans highly open to travel inspiration grew to 65.0% from 58.4% in the last two weeks. In addition, there is moderate growth across the many traveler segments we track in our travel marketability index, suggesting we may be entering a more sustained positive period.
  • Americans appear resigned that COVID is not going away. The strong majority of American travelers (67.4%) feel that it is “likely” or “very likely” that COVID-19 will be with us for the longer-term. When asked to share in one word how they feel about COVID-19 being with us in the longer-term, “sad” was overwhelmingly the top-of-mind response. Many also feel “scared,” “bad” and “frustrated.”
  • COVID remains a barrier to getting fulfillment out of travel experiences. Over 40% of Americans say that COVID-19 is seriously impacting their ability to have meaningful travel experiences right now. When asked to share how their travel experiences have been affected, many pointed to “safety concerns” and “avoiding travel,” as well as to “restrictions.” A quarter (24.9%) of recent overnight travelers reported feeling a high degree of anxiety about the COVID-19 situation during their trip.
  • Americans appear to be increasingly pushing off the early Fall leisure trips they planned to later this year. In fact, those who say they have at least tentative plans to take overnight trips in September (10.0% now, down from 22.8% the week of August 30th) and October (24.8%, down from 28.1%) have fallen while planned overnight trips for December has ticked up (23.9%, up from 21.2% two weeks ago). Similarly, plans to take leisure day trips in September (11.7%, down from 21.0%) and October (22.6%, down from 25.0%) have dropped while plans for leisure day trips in November (26.1%, up from 19.9%) and December (21.4%, up from 18.3%) have increased.
  • As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the majority of travelers support regulations proposed to enhance traveler safety. Mask requirements (where appropriate) continue to be popular with the majority (67.8%) of American travelers. By nearly a 4-to-1 ratio, far more travelers support the reintroduction of masking requirements when necessary than oppose it. Vaccine mandates for indoor activities are also approved of by the majority of the traveling public. Nearly 60 percent say they “Support” or “Strongly support” such regulations in their home communities. Approximately 25 percent of travelers oppose such regulation. 66.5% of travelers support a proposed requirement that all airline passengers be vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test, compared to 17.9% in opposition.
  • From NFL games to the office, travelers largely give the thumbs up to vaccine requirements. The recent announcement that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is creating a rule that would require companies with at least 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing for their employees before they can come to work is also supported by most travelers. 61.9% of travelers support such a rule, compared to 24.8% in opposition. On the heels of some NFL teams requiring vaccination for fans to attend games, we asked American travelers if professional football teams should require in-person attendees to have full vaccination or a recent negative test. 66.1% expressed support, while only 17.0% opposed this. Travelers who have attended such a game in the past 5 years showed even stronger support for the idea.
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted on Tuesday afternoon. And please join us Tuesdays at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

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    There is a Will to Meet, We Just Have to Find a Way to Overcome.

    A Window into the Current State of the Meetings Industry
     

    During our webinar on August 23rd, Destination Analysts’ President & CEO, Erin Francis-Cummings, interviewed a panel of meeting planners to discuss what’s top-of-mind as they plan future events and how destinations can set themselves apart to gain their business.

    You can watch the full panel discussion with meeting planners in the following video. Highlights from this discussion are presented below.

     

     

    Although the Delta Variant is causing the live events industry to pull back again, as Miriam Davis from EventPro Productions shared, it is causing unevenness throughout different sectors. While some corporate events and trade associations have decided or are contemplating taking their Fall live events completely virtual, some industries are leaning on technological tools to keep in-person events going safely.

    As Marshall Jones from Prestige Global Meeting Source shared, “There is a will to meet. This is how our country was built and we have to find a way to overcome.” He notes that he is not blind to the struggles of the meetings industry at large, but his clients are in the fortunate position of having higher discretionary incomes that allow their organizations to invest in technological interventions to keep their attendees safe such as:

  • Color-coded wrist bands that denote attendees comfort level with hugs/handshakes
  • Clear Health Pass
  • Thermal cameras upon entry
  • Rapid testing set-up in the facility
  • Sourcing a separate wing of the hotel to isolate attendees who may be ill
  • UV filters for sterilization
  • Decontamination portals (that spritz hydrogen peroxide which is known to kill the novel coronavirus)
  • The unfortunate reality is that not all organizations are in the financial position to institute such tech savvy but costly measures, so they instead must lean on their partners. As Marnie Hinkle from Synapse shared, “There are struggles, and we are back to having to make decisions and assessments day by day.” To help alleviate these stresses, planners are looking to their hotel and CVB/DMO partners to come to the table with solutions. “If I work with a good hotel partner, they say ‘How can I help?’ A bad hotel partner says, ‘What is your plan?’” The massive responsibility of keeping attendees safe is one that meeting planners do not want to shoulder alone and a common sentiment was, “Let’s work together and help each other.”

    There has been a lot of disruption to the meetings industry because of this pandemic, but the communication and cooperation that is a core part of this industry will be its saving grace.

    Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of September 6th

    Although nearly twice as many Americans headed out for Labor Day weekend trips this year than in 2020, summer 2021 ends in a quite a different place than it started: Since the Fourth of July, Americans’ sense of normalcy and optimism about the pandemic’s course has fallen by half.

    IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Since March 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data from 1,200 American travelers collected September 1st-3rd.

    Key Findings to Know:

  • Far more Americans headed out for Labor Day weekend trips this year compared to last. Nearly a quarter of Americans said they would be traveling for the holiday, almost doubling 2020 levels (24.0% vs. 13.0%).
  • Labor Day travel would have been stronger had not Americans been grappling with the disruption of the Delta variant. Among the American travelers who did not head out on Labor Day trips, 13.0% of this group said they had cancelled trip plans specifically because of Delta variant concerns.
  • Summer ends in a quite a different place than it started: Since the Fourth of July, Americans’ sense of normalcy and optimism about the pandemic’s course has fallen by half. Over half (51.2%) of American travelers expect the pandemic to get worse in the next month; comparatively only 16.2% felt this way heading into the Fourth of July holiday just two months ago. When asked how close to “normal” the U.S. is in terms of leisure activity, just 21.6% of American travelers felt that the U.S. was at least 70% back to normal, down from 42.7% at the beginning of July. Those Millennial age or younger were much likelier than Baby Boomer-age travelers to feel normalcy (27.7% vs 15.1%). Meanwhile, those in the South were less likely to feel normalcy (16.1%).
  • Although Americans generally continue to see travel and leisure activities as safe rather than unsafe, air travel, indoor attractions and restaurants have suffered notable declines in safety perceptions. Since early July, perceptions of commercial air travel as safe has fallen to 37.1% from 51.1%, while indoor attractions (like museums and aquariums) have declined to 44.4% from 59.9%, and dining in a restaurants to 52.8% from 67.7%.
  • Although Americans largely remain excited to travel in the next 12 months, expectations to travel for leisure in the next 3 months has declined. In total, 71.4% said they have a high level of excitement. However, compared to just two weeks ago, fewer Americans now report planned overnight leisure trips (52.6% down from 56.7% two weeks ago) and leisure day trips (43.1% down from 51.4%) in that timeframe.
  • The appeal of out-of-state business trips and convention travel has improved among employed American travelers relative to early this year. Now 45.7% of employed American travelers says they would be happy to take an out-of-state business trip in the next 6 months, up from 39.5% the week of April 12th. Also on the rise since April is the appeal of attending in-person group meetings. Now 40.4% would be happy to do so, up from 37.9% the week of April 12th. In fact, one-in-five employed American travelers now plans to attend a convention, conference or other group meeting sometime in the remainder of 2021, with October appearing to be the peak month for this trip type. However, the Delta variant is disrupting group meetings travel–16.8% say they have cancelled an upcoming trip to attend an in-person conference/convention and another 6.2% say they are currently considering cancelling such upcoming trips.
  • The welcoming reputation of destinations remains important to a majority of American travelers (68.0% consider it important or very important), but perceptions of specific destinations as being unwelcoming appears to be shifting. Of the 17.2% of American travelers who say they can name a destination that does not have a welcoming atmosphere for people like themselves, far more of this group are now naming New York, Texas and Hawaii as places that they feel are unwelcoming.
  • After a recent period of decline, Americans’ travel marketability index scores have held at the same levels for the last two weeks, offering hope for a turnaround. In particular, Millennial and Gen Z age travelers are likeliest to be in a ready-to-travel mindset right now (77.1%). They are also likelier to be supportive of pandemic protocols like indoor mask requirements right now (72.1%)
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted on Tuesday afternoon. And please join us Tuesdays at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

    We can help you with the insights your tourism strategy needs, from audience analysis to brand health to economic impact. Please check out our services here.

    A Deeper Dive Into Support for Indoor Vaccine Mandates

    In our survey of 1,200 American travelers fielded August 18-20, 2021 we examined current opinions and feelings related to pandemic mitigation measures (you can read the full summary here), specifically the COVID-19 vaccine mandates for indoor activities like bars, restaurants and gyms, undertaken by cities like New York and San Francisco, and being weighed by other communities around the world.

    One of the questions we asked American travelers about was their personal support for such indoor vaccine mandates in their own communities of residence. In total, 59.8% support or strongly support these; 17.6% are neutral and 24.8% oppose or strongly oppose them. As illustrated in the infographic below, this majority support is generally across all segments of travelers. Vaccine mandates have the strongest support among, unsurprisingly, the vaccinated, as well as urban dwellers, those with household incomes above $80,000, and parents of children under age 18. Conversely, the greatest opposition can be found among the unvaccinated (again, unsurprisingly), those residing in rural areas and those with household incomes below $80,000. Compared to Millennials and GenZ, opposition is stronger among older travelers (although the majority across generations is in support). And as compared to female-identifying travelers, vaccine mandates enjoy greater support among male-identifying travelers. Around the country, the highest concentration of support is among travelers in the Northeast.

    We will continue to track opinions related to vaccine requirements and mandates as policies evolve and will keep you updated. Reminder to join us for live presentations of our latest research findings on traveler perceptions and behaviors. And if you have a question idea or topic you would like our research to look into, please feel welcome to let us know!

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of August 23rd

    Under the shadow of the Delta variant, the majority of American travelers support both indoor masking requirements, as well as vaccine mandates for certain indoor activities right now. And they remained committed to travel, with 80% reporting trip plans.

    IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Since March 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data from 1,200 American travelers collected August 18-20.

    Key Findings to Know:

  • Even with high vaccination rates among travelers, the Delta variant situation is casting a heavy shadow. Despite 72.2% of American travelers reporting they have received a COVID vaccine, 63.2% have a high degree of concern about personally contracting the coronavirus right now. In fact, the proportion who are unconcerned about personally contracting COVID has decreased by half since May, dropping from 40.0% to 21.4%. A sense of pre-pandemic normalcy has also been cut nearly in half, falling to 22.3% from 42.7% six weeks ago. About 60% of American travelers say what’s happening with the Delta variant is making them less interested in travel right now (up from 54.3% the week of August 9th). Meanwhile, an increasing number of travelers are saying they have postponed an upcoming trip specifically due to the Delta variant (32.7% up from 27.0% two weeks ago); those who say they have cancelled a trip due to Delta variant concerns remains at 27.5%.
  • Given what’s happening with the pandemic, the majority of American travelers support both indoor masking requirements right now, as well as vaccine mandates for certain indoor activities. This week, 73.6% of American travelers support the reinstatement of indoor masking policies, growing nearly 9 percentage points since August 9th. Using San Francisco’s current COVID-19 vaccine mandate for entry to bars, restaurants and gyms as an example, 61.2% of American travelers say they support this (20.6% oppose) and 47.4% even agree it makes the city a more attractive place to visit (25.1% disagree). About 60% of American travelers say they would support such indoor COVID-19 vaccine mandates in their own community, (17.8% would be neutral and 22.5% would be opposed).
  • A small gain in optimism about where the pandemic is headed in the next months hints at slight rebounds in travel sentiment. With an increase in the number of unvaccinated travelers who say they will get vaccinated this year (32.1% up from 24.7% August 9th) and a record 58.8% of traveling parents of school-age children saying they will have their kids inoculated from COVID-19, the proportion of American travelers who feel the pandemic situation will improve in the next month has gained 6 percentage points in the last two weeks to 26.3%. Those in a ready-to-travel mindset improved back to 76.4% from 71.6% and excitement for incremental near-term travel returned to 67.0%, up from 60.7% two weeks ago. Firm confidence in travel’s present safety improved to 42.8% from 36.6%. American travelers open to travel inspiration also returned to 58.6% from 52.1% two weeks ago. Unfortunately, sentiment towards convention-related and international travel did not make similar rebounds.
  • Perceptions of high travel prices are butting up against growing financial anxiety. American travelers with concerns about their personal finances continued to rise, hitting 55.0% from 47.7% 2 weeks ago, and nearly 45% report they are feeling a lot of financial stress lately. This financial related anxiety likely contributes to almost 60% agreeing that travel prices are too high right now —most particularly hotel rates and gasoline. Over 43% now say high travel prices have deterred them from traveling in the past month, up from 34.6% in just two weeks. On a positive note, despite these affordability perceptions, 54.7% say leisure travel will remain a high priority in their budgets and 41.4% agree that the present is a good time to spend on travel.
  • 80% of American travelers still have trip plans. In fact, 24.4% report having travel planned in September, and 23.4% report having travel planned in October. Both November and December are currently above 20%, as well. Three-quarters of American travelers did some travel dreaming or planning in the last week alone. Using ski as an example about travelers’ confidence in the future, nearly two-thirds of traveling skiers who have a regular ski destination they travel to say they are likely to visit that destination this season.
  • Polarization present but not overwhelming. Not surprisingly, travelers would like to know that they are welcomed at their destinations—70.2% say that they are unlikely to travel to a destination that has a reputation of being unwelcoming. Interestingly, this week the number of American travelers who said they can think of a U.S. destination where they would expect to be an unwelcoming atmosphere jumped over 7 percentage points to 20.3%. When asked in an open-ended question which domestic destinations come to mind as possibly being unwelcoming, New York, California, Texas and Florida topped the list. Nevertheless—and despite these destinations’ pandemic-related associations —Florida, New York, California, Las Vegas and Texas remain dominant in where Americans name as the places they most want to travel to in the next year.
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted on Tuesday afternoon. And please join us Tuesdays at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

    We can help you with the insights your tourism strategy needs, from audience analysis to brand health to economic impact. Please check out our services here.

    Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of August 9th

    As the Delta variant wreaks havoc, the backslide in travel sentiment continues, diminishing months of gains. But travel is still on the horizon for Americans, with over half of travelers expecting to take at least one overnight trip in the next 3 months.

    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 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data collected August 4th-6th.

    Key Findings to Know:

  • Optimism about the pandemic has receded to a level last seen during the Winter COVID-19 surge. Since June 8th, optimism has fallen over 40 percentage points, reaching a year-to-date low of 20.4%. Instead, over half of American travelers now expect the pandemic to get worse in the U.S. over the next month. Americans feeling pre-pandemic normalcy has tumbled another 7 percentage points to 25.3%, after reaching 42.7% a month ago.
  • After months of steady recovery, confidence in travel’s safety now continues to decline. After hitting a high of 52.9% just six weeks ago, the percent of American travelers who feel “confident” or “very confident” they can travel safely in the current environment fell to 36.6%. Nearly half (48.0%) agree that media coverage of the COVID-19 situation has them doubting that it is safe to travel. Fortunately, the majority of American travelers still feel road tripping, dining in restaurants, staying in a hotel, visiting amusement parks and other outdoor attractions, shopping and outdoor recreational activities are safe; however, it’s notable that less than half now consider flying on an airplane, visiting a museum or indoor attraction, and riding in an Uber/taxi is safe.
  • Delta variant-related concerns are disrupting trip plans and making it more difficult to market travel right now. This week, a notable number of American travelers continued to say the Delta variant had caused trip postponements (27.0%, up from 25.4% July 26th) and even cancellations 23.0%, up from 18.9%). Travel enthusiasm overall has certainly been impacted. More than 54% say that the Delta variant has made them less interested in traveling right now. Those with high levels of excitement to travel now is down to 60.7% from 68.2% two weeks ago, while openness to travel inspiration fell to 54.1% from 64.4%. Travelers reporting a “not ready” mindset has climbed to 28.4% from 19.3% one month ago. These concerns extend to their home communities, as well. Those saying they don’t want tourists in town right now hit 41.9%, the highest it has been since Memorial Day.
  • Male travelers are feeling more positive. In our survey this week, those who identify as men report lower stress levels and a stronger sense of normalcy in their lives. Relative to women, they are more confident they can travel safely and exhibit greater optimism and commitment to their travel future. A key factor may be vaccination status. This week, 74.2% of male travelers report receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 58.9% of women.
  • More vaccinations will come. Nearly a quarter of unvaccinated American travelers say they will get a COVID-19 vaccine this year. Another 29.4% of these unvaccinated travelers say they are open to getting the COVID vaccine but need more information about it.
  • As we head out of the summer peak —and despite diminished enthusiasm right now —many Americans are still planning Fall travel. With the peak summer travel weeks in the rearview mirror and COVID concerns up, the percentage of travelers expecting to take one or more overnight leisure trips in the next three months has fallen to 51.5% from 63.0% July 26th. Meanwhile just 34.4% say now is a good time to spend money on travel, down from 42.4% two weeks ago, and Americans reporting travel as a budget priority dropped to 51.3% from 62.2%. And yet 75% of American travelers still did some travel dreaming or planning in the last week alone, with 23.9% reporting trip plans for September, and 26.1% for October.
  • Financial sentiment is steady. Over 44% of American travelers feel that their household will be better off financially a year from now. Just 11.3% anticipate that they will be worse off. Meanwhile, recent spending on leisure travel was strong, with the typical American traveler reporting spending $995.94 on their last overnight trip within the past month.
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted on Tuesday afternoon. And please join us Tuesdays at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

    We can help you with the insights your tourism strategy needs, from audience analysis to brand health to economic impact. Please check out our services here.

    Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of July 26th

    Optimism about the coronavirus situation in the U.S. has plummeted and regression in safety perceptions has caused Americans to feel we’ve lost ground on the progress made towards a return to normalcy. The Delta variant is also disrupting Americans’ trip plans with 25.4% having postponed an upcoming trip and 18.9% cancelling a trip specifically due to the Delta variant.

    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 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data collected July 21st-23rd.

    Key Findings to Know:

  • Optimism about the coronavirus situation in the U.S. has plummeted. American travelers’ expectation that the coronavirus situation will get worse in the next month has made a significant jump from 19.6% the week of July 12th to 43.0% this week—surpassing expectations that the situation will get better (32.0%) for the first time since the week of February 1st. This worsening expectation has impacted Americans’ excitement to travel right now (68.2%, down from 72.6%), personal health concerns (56.6%, up from 49.5%) and their confidence in the ability to travel safely right now (49.3%, down from 52.9%).
  • Negative associations with travel are on the rise again. When asked to give ONE WORD that best describes how they feel about travel right now, Americans’ top response was “exciting” the week of July 12th. Now, they mostly feel “good” about travel; however, the number of people citing “unsafe,” “nervous,” “worried,” or “anxious” is growing.
  • Regression in safety perceptions has caused Americans to feel we’ve lost ground on the progress made towards a return to normalcy. Due to recent media coverage of the COVID-19 situation, 44.8% are now doubting that it is safe to go out and about and 45.0% doubt that it is safe to travel now. These decreased feelings of safety have led to a drop in perceptions of normalcy. This week, less than one-in-three (32.3%) American travelers feel that the U.S. is close to “normal” in terms of resuming leisure activities—down 10 percentage points from 42.7% the week of July 12th.
  • The Delta variant is disrupting Americans’ travel plans. Recent news about increasing Delta variant cases have made half of American travelers less interested in traveling right now (53.6%, up from 51.0% the week of July 12th). In fact, a quarter (25.4%) have postponed an upcoming trip and 18.9% have cancelled a trip specifically due to the Delta variant. In addition, overnight trips appear to be in decline—this week 43.8% of Americans said they took at least one such trip in the past month which is down from 49.6% who said the same the week of July 12th.
  • On a brighter note, big cities and metropolitan areas continue to make gains in recovery. Among those who took an overnight trip in the past month, cities/metro areas were the top destination type visited (39.3%), followed by small towns (30.9%) and beach destinations (26.9%). Due to recent COVID outbreaks, some cities have reinstated indoor mask requirements and while 15.7% of American travelers are opposed, 68.2% support this requirement.
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted each Tuesday afternoon. And please join us every Tuesday at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

    We can help you with the insights your tourism strategy needs, from audience analysis to brand health to economic impact. Please check out our services here.

    Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of July 12th

    With increased savings and greater financial wellness, 44.6% of Americans feel that now is a good time to spend money on leisure travel. However, travelers are still feeling price conscious, with 59.2% agreeing that travel prices are generally too high right now—particularly hotel rates, gas, airfare and car rentals. In fact, these high travel prices have deterred 36.9% of Americans from traveling in the past month.

    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 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data collected July 7th-9th.

    Key Findings to Know:

  • Overnight trips are on the rise. Over half of American travelers took an overnight trip in the past three months (52.2%, up from 44.6% the week of June 28th). These overnight travelers were overwhelmingly satisfied with their trips, despite some reporting less satisfactory experiences with restaurants not being fully open (22.1%) and travel prices being high (20.5%). Still though, one-in-three of these recent overnight travelers report that their recent travel experiences have made them more enthusiastic to travel (32.2%).
  • However, the spreading Delta variant is giving American travelers pause. In fact, 51.0% say they are less interested in traveling right now because of the variant and more expect the coronavirus situation to get worse in the U.S. in the next month (19.6%, up from 16.2% the week of June 28th). Additionally, after dipping to a pandemic-record low of 31.6% the week of May 31st, more American travelers now agree that they do not want travelers visiting their community right now (39.6%).
  • There is hope for increased vaccinations amongst travelers. Of those who remain unvaccinated, 34.2% say they will get inoculated soon or at some point this year, while 23.8% are open to the vaccine but need more time or information. Unfortunately, 36.7% of this group say they will not take the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Americans feel that now is a good time to spend money on leisure travel. With over two-thirds (67.9%) of American travelers reporting having been able to save at least some money this month and 42.1% saying their household is “better off” financially compared to one year ago, 44.6% of travelers feel that now is a good time to spend their money on leisure travel—a sentiment that is much more strongly held amongst younger travelers (57.8% for Millennials or younger, 45.7% for Gen X vs. 30.9% for Boomers or older).
  • Despite increased savings, travelers are still feeling price conscious. 50.6% of Americans say that travel rewards programs will continue to be important to how they generally plan their leisure travels and 69.8% agree that getting the lowest possible prices while traveling is important to them. Still though, travelers are feeling the sting of increased travel costs, with 59.2% agreeing that travel prices are generally too high right now, particularly hotel rates, gasoline, airline tickets and car rental fees. When asked if high travel prices have kept them from traveling in the past month, 36.9% agree that it has.
  • Travelers’ increasing environmental conscientiousness should not be discounted. 52.3% feel that the environmental impact of travel is “important” or “very important” when planning their trips and 38.1% “usually” or “always” make their travel plans specifically thinking about the impact of travel on the environment.
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted each Tuesday afternoon. And please join us every Tuesday at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

    We can help you with the insights your tourism strategy needs, from audience analysis to brand health to economic impact. Please check out our services here.

    Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of June 28th

    Americans are feeling the pangs of the travel industry’s labor shortages with 43.4% of recent overnight travelers agreeing that it seemed as though travel industry businesses were having trouble providing adequate service to travelers. But despite unsatisfactory travel experiences, some Americans are still feeling more enthusiastic about travel.

    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 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data collected June 23rd-25th.

    Key Findings to Know:

    • Optimism about the virus’ course in America declines: Now, 16.2% expect the coronavirus situation to get worse or much worse in this country in the next month (up from 10.9%). This may also be causing a downturn in their openness to travel inspiration (now 70.9% from 73.1% last week) and confidence in their ability to travel safely in this environment (47.8% from 52.2%).
    • Concerns about the safety of others and ourselves as well as worries about COVID-19 variants are the most important considerations that keep Americans from traveling more right now: In fact, over 40% of travelers say these three aspects are important or extremely important considerations that keep them from taking more trips.
    • Nevertheless, summer travel plans hold strong: Over 77% of Americans plan to travel for leisure in the next 3 months—averaging 1.9 trips in this timeframe. 90% of these summer travelers expect to take at least one overnight trip. For these overnight trips, the most likely accommodation types will be the private home of a friend/relative (34.6%), 3-4 star hotels (32.7%) and budget hotels/motels (18.5%).
    • Despite unsatisfactory travel experiences in recent months, some Americans are feeling more enthusiastic about travel: A look back at the past 3 months shows that 44.6% of Americans have taken a overnight trip. Nearly 70% of these travelers participated in at least one leisure activity with the most “close to normal” experience being dining in restaurants (53.2% rating it as very normal or mostly normal and 60.3% were satisfied or very satisfied with their restaurant experience). In contrast, well below half of these travelers felt their experience in hotels, at events, in attractions, onboard commercial airlines and in airport businesses were normal or satisfactory. Still, though 28.2% of travelers said their most recent travel experience has made them more enthusiastic to travel and 22.9% say their experiences have made them sympathetic to the travel industry.
    • Americans are feeling the pangs of the travel industry’s labor shortages: 43.4% of recent overnight travelers agree that on their most recent trip it seemed as though travel industry businesses were having trouble providing adequate service to travelers. This has impacted future travel for some Americans, with 17.3% saying their recent travel experiences have led them to do more research, 14.9% will not plan as much travel and 11.8% say they have changed the destination or attraction for an upcoming trip.
    • Travel, tourism and recreation are among the top industries Americans are most interested in working in: Presented with a list of 15 different industries and asked to assume a job opportunity matched their skills and experience, 12.9% of all Americans surveyed said they would be interested in working in the travel, tourism and recreation industry. The same percentage selected arts and entertainment (12.9%), while 11.7% selected information technology.
    Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted each Tuesday afternoon. And please join us every Tuesday at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.
    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

    We can help you with the insights your tourism strategy needs, from audience analysis to brand health to economic impact. Please check out our services here.

    Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of June 21st

    Americans are feeling the normalizing effects of the grand reopening, with more summer trips planned and minds opened for travel inspiration. However, the renewed travel activity across the country may be causing attitudes towards local tourism to backslide.

    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 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data collected June 16th-18th.

    Key Findings to Know:

  • Americans are feeling the grand reopening: More than four-in-ten Americans now say that the U.S. is more than 70% back to normal for leisure activities—up from only 26.8% feeling this way in April. While there was little difference by age in this sentiment, those in the Northeast are likeliest to feel the country is closer to normal while those in the West are less likely.
  • Travel is the thing-to-do this summer: Three-quarters of American travelers will take at least one vacation or getaway over the next 3 months. In this same time frame, 15.3% will take a business trip and 7.5% will travel for a conference or convention.
  • Americans want more travel inspiration: The proportion of American travelers highly open to travel content is up to 73.1% this week. In the last week alone, eight-in-ten American travelers did some travel dreaming or planning towards their next trip. Online content/search engine marketing, social media, emails and travel & lifestyle magazines continue to be where Americans say they are most receptive to travel messaging.
  • The increase in travel may be causing attitudes towards local tourism to backslide: This week saw a 7-percentage point increase in the proportion of Americans who say they don’t want tourists in town (to 40.6% from 33.6%). Some of our latest research found that 40% of recent travelers had found other people irritating while out-and-about—could this annoyance be a reason for not wanting tourists in town? In any case, those who don’t want travelers visiting their local community right now demographically skew male, employed, urban-dwelling, Millennial-aged, parent of children under 18. On a positive note, 57.7% of American travelers said they would be happy to see an ad promoting tourism to their own community.
  • Beach destinations look poised for another year of stellar tourism performance: When asked about the destinations they will visit for the remainder of 2021, Americans reported the greatest certainty to visit beach destinations and resorts, and beaches were likeliest to be a primary trip destination, rather than a secondary or pass-through destination (in comparison, cities are similarly likely to be a secondary destination as a primary destination for travelers this year). Boding even better for beach destinations is that Americans demonstrate the greatest excitement for visiting these destinations—56.2% are highly excited to travel to beaches this year, 12 percentage points above National Parks, and 15 percentage points above cities.
  • American travelers’ top passions include Foodie-ism, International Travel, Concerts, Theme Parks, Health & Wellness and Theater Performances: As the pandemic recovery continues, more than 40% of American travelers report having high interest in each of these passions and hobbies.
  • Concerns about side-effects are preventing further vaccination-rate gains: This week, 19.2% of American travelers surveyed said they would not be getting themselves inoculated against COVID-19. When asked their reasons why, concerns about the vaccines’ side effects topped the list (40.1%), closely followed by feeling that the vaccines were not adequately tested (38.8%). On the flip side, about 90% of COVID-19-vaccinated travelers said being vaccinated makes them more comfortable traveling.
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted each Tuesday afternoon. And please join us every Tuesday at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

    We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers.

    To make sure you receive notifications of our latest findings, you can sign up here.

    Have a question idea or topic you would like to suggest we study? Let us know!

    We can help you with the insights your tourism strategy needs, from audience analysis to brand health to economic impact. Please check out our services here.