HTS Highlights: Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index

Destination Analysis Inc. President & CEO, Erin Francis-Cummings gave an insightful presentation about the most recent data on tourism and travel trends in the United States. It has been 27 weeks since the beginning of this study and it’s no surprise that COVID-19 has had a major impact on travel plans across the country. Nevertheless, with hopes of a vaccine, Americans are slowly feeling more confident to begin traveling again.  

The U.S. has reached 6.6 million infections and an estimated 200,000 deaths by the end of this week. When Travelers were asked to describe in ‘one word’ how they felt about traveling during the pandemic, this is how they responded. In the first month they felt scared, in May they felt cautious, and today they feel cautious but excited.

Cummings says the majority of Americans don’t believe the pandemic will be over by the end of 2020, but she shares some promising statistics that bring optimism for the travel industry. 52.2% of Americans have excitement and openness to travel, 37% plan to travel this fall, and 78% have travel plans for the upcoming year. “There’s a lessening of fear and it has transmitted to travel,” said Cummings. 

Looking back at findings from the summer, 42.5% of Americans took a leisure trip from June 1st to last weekend. July and August were the peak travel months which mostly included college graduates and partners. Additionally, when traveling Americans were more reliant on hotels for safety information. 32% of these travelers stayed at 3-4 star hotels and 82.7% rated satisfied to very satisfied with their stays at hotels during a pandemic. In terms of safety operational practices wanted by guests, they included well-explained cleaning procedures, hand sanitizers, available face masks, and wipes. 

Due to current conditions, travelers had a decrease in their typical vacation spending. This was not due to restaurants or attractions being closed, but because travelers are purposely being more budget-conscious. In addition, Cummings added that offering discounts would cause motivation in Americans to begin traveling. 

When asked if a vaccine would change the attitude of traveling for Americans, 44.1% said yes and 47.5% said they would need to wait 3-12 months before getting the vaccine. In a Travel Sentiment Index used by Destination Analysis, it has found that those in rural areas, air travelers, cruise travelers, and women are most marketable at the moment. 

If you’re interested in this study, new findings come out every Monday morning or you can also visit the website at https://www.destinationanalysts.com/covid-19-insights/.

Written By Marla Chavez Garcia