Traveler Sentiment

From Destination Analysts, March 27-29, 2020:

Key Findings to Know this Week

  • 66.1% of American travelers report trips affected by COVID-19, essentially flat from last week. While the near-term (March/April) shows the heaviest losses, the percent reporting cancelled and postponed trips in later months is increasing.
  • While Americans predominately attach fear to traveling at the moment, they miss it: two-thirds agree they “can’t wait to get out and travel again” #whencoronavirusisover.
  • However, nearly one-third of American travelers say they will change the types of destinations they choose to visit after the coronavirus situation is resolved; another 26.0% are unsure if they will.
  • In the interim, 55.4% of American travelers have been taking action to support local businesses where they live.

While the near-term continues to show the heaviest losses from trip cancellations and postponements, the percent reporting cancelled and postponed trips in later months is increasing as the pandemic wears on.

In considering the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on travel it is critical to note that no data source right now captures the travel volume that never emerged because of the pandemic—the millions of trips that are typically inspired and planned in shorter windows…the lost months of travel.

The good news is that Americans MISS travel. Although when asked the first word they associate with travel right now, expressions of fear dominate (illustrating the excellent sense many Destination Marketing Organizations are demonstrating in their production of beautiful “#stayhomesavelives, we will be waiting to welcome you when it’s safe” content). Nevertheless, two-thirds agree or strongly agree that they “miss travel…I can’t wait to get out and travel again.”

Read the entire industry update here.

From H2R Research, March 30 - April 1, 2020:

Coronavirus concerns, and the possibility it could impact one’s own health, has been intensifying over the past month. Overall, 63% of respondents have said they are somewhat or very concerned about the impact the coronavirus could have upon their own personal health; however, those numbers have steadily increased week to week.

But, while Americans are increasingly concerned about their own health (63%), they are even more worried about the health of their friends and family (75%) and the economy as a whole (82%). In fact, in a new question added this week, 52% of travelers with jobs indicated they had their employment impacted in some manner. Most (21%) reported having their hours reduced, while another 14% reported being laid off—and 4% had their job eliminated altogether.

Compared to Wave 2 results, travelers exhibit greater concern about being a carrier of the virus (+11 points), having friends or family members getting ill (+7 points) or becoming critically ill or dying themselves (+5 points). Conversely, they are less worried about running out of food and supplies during a quarantine (-11 points) . 

Overall, Americans expect this disruption to their everyday lives to last around 19 weeks or just under five months in total—placing the end sometime around mid-August. But eight in ten believe this public crisis will likely alter consumer behavior for a long time to come. New behaviors travelers believe will last long after the threat subsides include hand washing for 20 seconds or more (68%), avoiding international travel (53%) and avoiding public gatherings (49%).

Sadly, just 31% feel somewhat or very confident that their fellow Americans will adhere to authorities and medical experts’ requests to stay at home—which is likely why the average person expects 25% (which equates to 80M or more) of the population to become infected with coronavirus over the next six months.

In order to feel comfortable enough to begin planning their next leisure trip, Americans indicate they would need to either hear an “all clear” from the government (76%) or know that the place they are planning to visit had not had any new cases of coronavirus in the past two weeks (52%). However, another 36% just need to see other travelers venturing out—so the earliest innovators out of the gate are going to be incredibly important to the tourism industry.

The attractions industry remains closed for the time being and intent to visit for the average type of attraction is down 53% from the benchmark recorded in the annual Voice of the Visitor study pioneered by H2R Market Research and PGAV Destinations.


This data reflects the third wave of H2R’s COVID-19 Travel & Attractions Research conducted March 30-April 1, 2020, from a nationwide, professionally managed consumer panel of people who have traveled for leisure in the past 12 months. 150 responses were collected for this wave, providing for a maximum margin of error of +/-8.0%. For more information, please email info@h2rmarketresearch.com.

Lost Business

The following citywide conventions at the Washington State Convention Center have been cancelled or postponed:

POSTPONED:

MAR. 12-15: Emerald City Comic Con

  • New Date: Summer 2020
  • 20,000 attendees per day
  • 3,254 rooms on peak; 12,284 total room nights
  • Hotels Contracted: 15

CANCELED:

MAR. 18-21: Academy of Osseointegration

  • 2,200 attendees
  • 1,250 rooms on peak; 4,434 total room nights
  • Hotels Contracted: 2 

MAR. 28-APR. 1: Society of Interventional Radiology

  • 5,200 attendees
  • 2,100 rooms on peak; 9,870 total room nights
  • Hotels Contracted: 5

MAR. 23-26: Confidential Account - GSMCON2020

  • 900 attendees
  • 850 rooms on peak; 3,150 total room nights
  • Hotels Contracted: 2

APR. 23-28: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

  • 5,500 attendees
  • 2,700 rooms on peak; 8,802 total room nights
  • Hotels Contracted: 8

MAY 2-5: Association of Clinical Research Professionals

  • 2,300 attendees
  • 1,000 rooms on peak; 4,100 total room nights
  • Hotels Contracted: 4