Traveler Sentiment

From Destination Analysts, September 7, 2020:

Key Findings to Know this Week

  • Perceptions of travel activities’ safety—while still far from ideal—are the best they have been since the onset of the pandemic
    • Younger travelers and those in the South are the most confident about traveling safely
    • 75% of respondents continue to report that they have at least tentative trip plans right now
      • Close to one-third (32%) expect they will travel this fall season
  • Openness to travel inspiration improved again this week
  • The proportion comfortable with tourists visiting their own communities is among the highest it has been during the pandemic
  • Looking back on the summer, over one-third (35%) of respondents reported taking a leisure trip between June 1 and Labor Day
    • More than eight in 10 travelers reported staying overnight
    • While some of these travelers reported feeling unsafe at times, firsthand experience traveling over the summer provided a net increase in confidence that travel can be done safely
  • In looking at when corporate travel might catch up to leisure travel, 24% of American travelers who work for companies in which employees travel for business say that business travel has started again
    • Of the three-quarters whose companies are not yet back to business travel, less than 10% have announced a timeline for return
    • While a quarter anticipate their company’s business travel to return in January, nearly half expect that it will be in April 2021 or later

Source: Destination Analysts

From H2R Research, September 17, 2020:

Consumer outlook on recovery from the pandemic hinges on the number of positive coronavirus cases reported. Based on our data gathered since early June, there is a very strong negative relationship (-76%) between intent to travel for leisure and the average number of cases reported. 

While some still say they have no plans to travel until a vaccine is found, one in five consumers across the nation told us they have already ventured out and visited an attraction or traveled for leisure, and another quarter indicate they already have plans to travel or expect to do so as soon as they see their friends venturing out safely. 

These numbers, of course, vary greatly depending on age. Consumers under the age of 50 are 54% more likely to have already ventured out in comparison to those over 50. Though regardless of age, the majority of those Early Adopters are traveling with their immediate family and still prefer visiting outdoor attractions compared to indoor events. And, consumers expect these same basic trends to linger well after the threat of coronavirus has passed.

Those who have traveled or visited attractions are feeling more safe and confident while out and about today than they did at the beginning of the month. In this week’s results, H2R’s COVID-19 Confidence Index rebounded to 36.7 from 31.5 just two weeks ago. 

This index has been on quite the rollercoaster ride over the past couple of months but remains an important data point to track as it is indicative of consumer perceptions surrounding the safety of the travel industry. Traveler confidence and risk tolerance appears to be mission critical in persuading consumers to travel.

To date, three in ten say they are planning to travel in the near future and once they see others doing so safely, and 43% say they feel safe traveling outside of their community. But genuine intentions to travel in 2020 slipped a bit compared to results in our last wave of research. 

While travel plans in 2020 may be winding down, consumers are gearing up for more travel in 2021—likely to make up for their missed trips this year. This week, more than half of consumers nationwide indicated they plan on traveling in 2021, the largest percentage recorded since early July.
The once predictable consumer is no longer quite as easy to understand. Their attitudes, beliefs and habits continue to evolve and look much different than they did in the pre-viral world. While some say they are considering the purchase of a new or used car, a boat or even a vacation property in the next 6 months, others are searching for new jobs, considering a new loan or refinancing an existing loan. Overall, consumer needs and wants are not what they were six months ago. 

More information:

This data reflects the fourth wave of H2R’s COVID-19 Travel & Attractions Update: Rebuild Edition conducted the week of September 14, 2020, from a nationwide, professionally managed panel of consumers. 225 responses were collected for this wave, providing for a maximum margin of error of +/-6.5%. For more information, please email

Traveler and Consumer

Sentiment Survey Results

Back-to-Normal Barometer

August 19, 2020

  • More than half of Americans (56%) feel that working from home has allowed them more personal time than they typically have
  • Yet, it can be stressful working from home and 22% think if their employer demanded they take more time off it would be less stressful
    • Vacation time is not being utilized in 2020—close to three-quarters (72%) agree that they are using less of their vacation time this year
  • Americans are feeling more comfortable with the idea of a vacation
  • Half of Americans are either already active (12%) or ready to stay in a hotel (38%)
  • Nealy one in five (18%) need some additional assurance from trusted sources and 32% need a medical breakthrough to feel comfortable
  • Close to half of Americans (48%) are ready to attend conferences or conventions in person
    • Personal health is more of an impediment to attend conferences for women (77%) than men (38%). Four in 10 males believe clients unavailable to meet in person is an impediment to active business travel
  • There are many aspects of leisure travel Americans are missing, but the top-rated aspect mentioned by more than 6 in 10 leisure travelers (62%) is "having something to look forward to"
  • While many are hopeful they will be traveling this holiday season to spend time with family and friends, the vast majority will drive and do not feel comfortable flying yet

Source: Engagious

National Tracking Poll: COVID-19 and Travel Sentiment

September 1, 2020

  • Travel confidence is rebounding as we head into Labor Day weekend
    • The percentage of those confident in traveling outside their communities jumped to 49%, up from 39% two weeks ago, and the highest level in months
    • The percentage of those confident in dining in local restaurants and shopping in local stores rose to 48%, up from 45% two weeks ago and from a low of 31% in mid-May
    • The percentage of those supporting opening their communities to visitors rose to 44%, up from 35% two weeks ago and from a low of 31% in mid-May

Source: Longwoods International supported by Miles Partnership

The Harris Poll CV-19 Tracker

August 30, 2020

  • Three-quarters (74%) of Americans currently working remotely would consider taking a ‘workcation’
    • The most popular spots are California (19%) and Florida or New York (15%)
  • As American workers look for a change in scenery from their home office, Airbnb has seen a significant increase in long term rentals in destinations outside urban areas

Source: The Harris Poll

Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS)

September 4, 2020

  • The likelihood of traveling during the next six months increased since the previous July survey
    • Respondents’ likelihood to take a domestic leisure trip during the next six months is the highest it has been since the survey’s inception in mid-March, with 42% reporting they are at least somewhat likely to do so, up from 38% a month earlier
    • The likelihood to take a domestic business trip during the next six months also increased—from 31% last month to 35% in the most recent wave
    • The likelihood to travel by personal car during the next six months was the highest it has been since the pandemic started, with three-quarters (75%) indicating they plan to do so
    • Almost two in five (39%) are willing to drive 300 miles or more (each way) for a leisure trip

Source: MMGY Travel Intelligence

Consumer Behavior in the Time of COVID-19

September 3, 2020

  • When it comes to planning for the future, 41% of Americans feel stuck about what to do next or have a lot of uncertainty—down from 44% in mid-August
  • The outcome of the 2020 presidential election is now the number one perceived threat to the well-being of individuals and their families for 56% of Americans—ahead of health threats (53%) and economic concerns (49%)

Source: Ipsos

iMeet Survey of Meeting Planners

August 30, 2020

  • Planners who believe they will resume face-to-face meetings by the end of the year declined to 18% this week, down from 21% last week
  • Just 11% of planners are targeting Q4 2020 for face-to-face meetings
  • One third of planners expect to resume face to face events in Q2 of 2021 and 18% are hoping for Q1
  • Planners expect to initially start with small events within driving distance or hybrid events

Source: iMeet

Fall Travel Index

September 8, 2020

  • While Florida and Arizona have always been popular destinations, there is significant y/y increase in travelers planning to visit this fall
  • Travelers are looking for short, last minute getaways with 55% booking two to five-night stays and often booking less than a week in advance

Source: Tripadvisor