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Travel searches showed strong growth throughout 1Q2021 as COVID-19 vaccines rolled out

Travel searches showed strong growth throughout 1Q2021 as COVID-19 vaccines rolled out
25 May 2021 (Edited 06 September 2022)

Longer domestic trips predominated, bookings were made late

Travel searches grew strongly in 1Q2021

Newly released Travel Recovery Trend Report 2021 |Q1 from Expedia shows:

  • Global rollout of vaccines has increased demand for travel.
  • Most travel searches occurred between 0 and 21 days of trip departure.
  • Travelers are booking more trips of a week or more.
  • Domestic road trips by car to both beach and city destinations far outnumbered trips by air or other means of transportation.
  • Cost and convenience began to edge out health and hygiene expectations as drivers of travel choices.

By the numbers:

  • Week of 15 March - following release of new CDC guidelines for vaccinated individuals - saw the greatest weekly growth in travel searches: +30%.
  • 43% of Americans felt more comfortable about traveling in 1Q2021.
  • 55% of married couples and 55% of city dwellers say they will be more willing to travel as soon as vaccines are widely available.
  • 1 in 3 Americans have taken or will take a trip to celebrate being vaccinated.
  • 60% of searches for domestic travel occurred within 21 days of departure, vs. 40% of searches for international travel.
  • Around 60% of travelers had to cancel a planned trip in 2020 because of COVID-19.
  • Vacation rental demand and average length of stay both increased by 30% in 1Q2021.
  • Top 10 destinations booked by North American travelers for 1Q2021 were:
    1. Las Vegas
    2. Cancun
    3. Orlando
    4. Miami
    5. New York City
    6. Miami Beach
    7. Honolulu
    8. Los Angeles
    9. Ft. Lauderdale
    10. Atlanta
  • 62% of those surveyed said they took or would be willing to take a road trip during the pandemic.
  • 4 out of 5 travelers still expect to make accommodation decisions based on COVID-19 health/safety protocols implemented.

Expedia's projections for 2Q2021:

  • Increase in searches for international travel as vaccine distribution broadens
  • Travelers say they will choose eco-friendly options at least part of the time.

Comment: Notice that although traditional drivers like cost and convenience are regaining importance in travel decisionmaking, 80% of those surveyed said that they will choose accommodations on the basis of health/safety protocols in place. If you're a hotelier, make sure you've explained yours convincingly.

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