New Study Shows Optimism for Travel in 2021

One in two travelers is optimistic about taking a trip in the next 12 months, according to research from Expedia.

More than half (53 percent) of Americans who usually take a vacation have not done so since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, nearly 31 percent are dreaming of travel and actively planning for 2021.


“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, Expedia Group Media Solutions. “COVID-19 has driven a seismic shift in traveler preferences and influences, and understanding these changes is critical to recovery efforts and future marketing strategies. The new research provides insights into the steps travel brands can take to reassure and connect with travelers as they begin researching, planning and booking again.”

When they do travel again, Americans are looking to safety regulations that will make them feel more comfortable. Seventy-five percent of travelers said measures such as mask enforcement, contactless services and flexibility, including easy refunds or cancellation policies, will inform their decisions on where they stay, Expedia’s research showed.

Findings from Expedia’s Traveler Sentiment and Influences survey also found that just one-third of travelers took a trip during the pandemic. Of those who chose to travel, 80 percent did so for rejuvenation—to enjoy a change of scenery, different weather or to see family or friends.

Globally, Gen-Z and Millennial travelers are one-and-a-half times more likely than other generations to take a leisure trip in January to March 2021, and travelers are more likely to take trips between April and September 2021.

A vaccine will definitely get people on the move again. Fifty-seven percent of travelers said they would be comfortable traveling if a vaccine was widely available.

Six in 10 travelers said that they would be most comfortable traveling if social distancing measures were in place when it came to air travel. Overall, travelers are looking for safety measures such as mask-wearing to be enforced.

When it comes to lodging, more than half of travelers want to know that proper COVID-19 hygiene protocols are in place. Other considerations such as contactless room service and takeout (24 percent) and contactless check-in options (23 percent) will also inform decisions.

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