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