One in two travelers feels optimistic, comfortable or even excited, about taking a trip in the next 12 months, according to a study by Expedia Group Media Solutions, the advertising organization of Expedia.
To consider travel now and in the future, travelers need reassurance in critical areas such as flexibility, cleanliness, and communication, the study also reveals.
Though consumer confidence in travel varies by country and generation, the importance of hygiene measures, flexibility, and financial peace of mind is more universal.
Other key insights include:
Titled “Traveler Sentiment & Influences in 2020-2021”, the study used an amalgamated group of best-in-class panels in October 2020 with 11,000 travelers across 11 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the UK, and the U.S.
Travel impact and trends
Globally, two-thirds of travelers (6 in 10) had a planned trip canceled due to Covid-19 and only a third of travelers have taken a trip during the pandemic.
Of those who took a trip, eight in 10 traveled for rejuvenation – to enjoy a change of scenery or different weather, or to see family or friends.
“As the world keeps a watchful eye on vaccine news, and people continue to crave a change of scenery or opportunity to catch up with loved ones, we know the pent-up demand for travel will grow,” said Monya Mandich, Vice President of Global Marketing at Expedia Group Media Solutions.
Globally, travelers are more likely to take trips between April and September 2021.
Brazilian, Chinese, and Mexican travelers show a higher likelihood to travel even earlier, between January and March 2021, which aligns with the positive traveler sentiment also seen in those markets.
Globally, Generation Z and millennial travelers are 1.5x more likely than other generations to take a leisure trip in January to March 2021.
Fifty-seven percent of travelers said they would be comfortable traveling if a vaccine is widely available, which is promising given that this sentiment was captured in October, prior to the recent positive vaccine news.
Seven in 10 travelers will look for flexibility, such as travel insurance and trip protection, full cancelations and refunds on transportation and accommodations.
In addition, Expedia.com’s lodging data shows that travelers booked refundable rates 10 percent more often in 2020 than the year before, and the new research indicates this trend is likely here to stay.
Proper Covid-19 hygiene protocols will inform future accommodation decisions for more than half of travelers, and this is the leading factor across all types, from chain and boutique hotels to vacation rentals to staying with family or friends.
Additional considerations include contactless room service and takeout (24 percent) and contactless check in options (23 percent).
The study also showed that travelers are turning to online travel agencies for information and travel planning 24 percent more than pre-pandemic, while destination websites saw a 20 percent increase in use as a planning tool.