Positive Traveler Sentiment in the Age of COVID-19
US Travelers Remain Optimistic about Postponed Trips
Although we have seen a historic number of cancellations recently, US travelers still feel very optimistic about rescheduling those canceled trips. According to Phocuswright research shared in a recent webinar, 61% of US travelers have postponed their trips by 1-6 months. This should be an encouraging statistic for the hotel industry and is a sign of positive consumer sentiment towards travel. Unlike past crises where expendable income was a concern, consumers today are still confident they will be spending on travel in 2020. Hoteliers need to start preparing for these rescheduled bookings as well as targeting new business to help rebound from this crisis.
“61% of US travelers have postponed their trips 1-6 months”
Discounts & Deals Might Not Be The Answer
As hoteliers target new business, deep discounts and deals might not be the most effective approach. According to Phocuswright research, only 31% of US travelers answered there is a high chance of taking advantage of travel deals right now, meanwhile 42% of US travelers say there is low to no chance. Consumers are willing to travel and this data suggests that price is not the biggest factor. Hoteliers need to focus on promoting safety and security over discounts and deals to attract travelers. This can be done by improving your hotel’s online reputation and reviews to give future travelers peace of mind about the measures being taken at the property.
Young, Local Travel Will Come Back First
So what type of traveler can we expect to see first as restrictions ease? Data suggests that these travelers will be young and local. According to Phocuswright research, of the people that would take advantage of travel deals right now, 41% were 34 or younger. With the younger generation starting to travel first, it’s important for hoteliers to utilize channels like social media in order to reach them. Data also suggests that consumers are much more willing to travel to local destinations than to travel long distances. In fact, 70% of US travelers associate air travel with a higher risk of getting infected, according to Phocuswright research. Hoteliers should focus their marketing efforts towards travelers in driveable markets.
When Will This Be Over?
Finally, the million-dollar question, “When will this all be over?” Unfortunately, the correct answer is no one knows. But we can look at recent trends to give us clues on when we might see a return to “normal” in our industry. The data that Phocuswright put together shows us when travelers might feel comfortable traveling once again.
Phocuswright concludes that US travelers are looking for 3 things to feel comfortable traveling again:
- Lessened risk of getting infected
- Lowered restrictions
- Ability to experience the destination fully
The good news is almost half (45%) of travelers will see hotels, restaurants, and bars reopening as a signal of comfort to travel once again. This is a larger percentage than attractions/activities to reopening (32%).
The return to normalcy will truly start with an increase in travel and hotels need to be prepared. That’s why at Travel Media Group we are creating resources and tools, like our brand new 1st Impression Score™ to put hotels in the most competitive position to quickly rebound from the crisis.