Travel preferences of Americans for summer 2020 are very different from the norm
17 June 2020

Only 23% expect life to return to anything like normal before Labor Day
ACRO Global
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Digital Tourism
Marketing & Advertising

Boothbay Harbor - Boston
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June 2020 COVID-19 US consumer sentiment tracking study just released by London-based market researchers BVA BDRC finds that 45% of Americans believe the worst of the pandemic is still to come.

When survey respondents said they believe life will return to something close to normal:

  • By summer 2020 (23%)
  • By end of 2020 (29%)
  • In 2021 (36%)
  • In 2022 or later (6%)
  • Never (6%)

Regarding travel:

  • Only 23% of Americans say they plan to take a domestic trip in the next month, 25% plan to book a hotel, and few plan to book a flight (15%) or take an international trip (14%).
  • Older consumers (Boomers) are especially concerned about sanitation in public spaces.
  • Americans who do travel will likely take fewer and shorter trips, and more trips (+20%) by car, fewer by air (-30%).
  • More Americans will be visiting friends and family, and not staying at a hotel.
  • One in four will travel closer to home than usual.
  • More Americans plan to book hotels with OTAs this summer (54%) than did pre-COVID-19 (40%), for both best value and access to best rooms.
  • Popular destinations for summer 2020:
    • Mountain or lake (cited by nearly 50%)
    • Local attractions
    • Beaches and coastal areas
  • Unpopular destinations:
    • Cities
    • Sporting events

Expectations of hotels (top 10):

  1. Hand sanitizer throughout the hotel (56%, but 65% of Boomers)
  2. Enhanced cleaning (50%, but 63% of boomers)
  3. Hotel brand cleanliness standard (49%)
  4. Staff wear face masks (40%)
  5. Daily staff health checks (37%)
  6. Enforced social distancing (36%)
  7. Reduced max capacity (35%)
  8. Cleanliness standards verified by government or other institution (34%)
  9. Controlled numbers of persons in each area of hotel (34%)
  10. Prompting of social distancing by staff and/or signage (32%)

14% of respondents said they won't stay in a hotel - and 24% won't stay in a short-term rental - until a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 is found.

Only 7% said they are happy to stay at a hotel without any changes - 5% in a short-term rental.

Regarding everyday leisure activities:

  • 53% of respondents said they anticipate going to a restaurant in the next month.
  • 44% anticipate going shopping.
  • 27% can envision going on a day out to a visitor attraction.
  • But only 16% can see themselves visiting a museum or cultural attraction.


Based on these survey results, who in the leisure travel business will do best in summer 2020?

  • Those in rural locations
  • Those in drive markets of major cities
  • Those in locations with a large diaspora of friends/family not too far away
  • Hotels that are really diligent about sanitation and social distancing
  • Restaurants
  • Retail

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David Boggs    - David
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