DALLAS, 28 January 2021: With new stricter guidelines on international travel going into effect this week to curb the spread of Covid-19, one thing is for sure; we are left with the uncertainty of pandemic travel planning in 2021.
While the vaccine rollout has encouraged travellers to dream of their first post-pandemic trip, new research from Travelocity finds that most travellers expect travel will come with more precautionary measures than 2020.
In fact, 77% of respondents said they believe travel has changed “significantly” or “completely” due to the pandemic. The majority admitted they are only moderately familiar with the changes implemented in the travel industry.
Parents are now twice more likely to have travelled than solo travellers since the start of the pandemic, and they’re planning trips in 2021.
“Pandemic travel planning isn’t going away, and so our research is really focused on understanding what positive behaviours we can take away from this moment to rebuild travel now and prepare for whatever comes next in the future,” says Travelocity general manager Katie Junod.
The travel brand’s 2021 Pandemic Travel Planning survey looked at past, present and future planning tactics that could help Americans prepare for travel in the year ahead. Three surprising themes emerged from the report.
Families will lead the comeback
Travelocity is predicting that family travel will be the first type of travel to make a comeback in 2021, due in large part to the fact that parents are twice as likely to have travelled since the start of the pandemic compared with non-parents, and they indicate a greater familiarity with changes in the travel industry.
“Parents have been arguably among the most impacted by the pandemic with pressures of coordinating everything and everyone at home,” says Junod. “As a result, travel is more of a necessity for them, and they’ve stayed up-to-date on changes.”
According to the survey, parents are also inclined to take trips sooner, plan those trips earlier, and reserve their trips earlier than non-parents.
Rebuild confidence with a “toe-dip trip”
After nearly a year of travel restrictions and quarantines, 60% of travellers say they’re planning a post-pandemic trip within the next nine months, and many (43%) feel extremely or very confident in their plans. Junod says this is largely attributable to the fact that travellers are planning shorter trips that rebuild confidence and create a sense of normalcy in the near term.
“We may be dreaming of that big bucket list trip, but what travellers are actually planning so far this year are visits to familiar destinations (24%), a road trip or a beach trip (30%), or weekend getaway (26%).”
Changing safety priorities
“As travellers plan trips now and later, their priorities – and what makes them feel confident and safe – is changing,” says Junod.
Respondents said the most important influence on their decision to travel right now was the cleanliness of hotel and transportation options and safe accommodations in their travel destination (81% rate each as “extremely” or “very” important).
Travelocity rolled out enhanced cleanliness filters for hotel and car searches last summer and introduced cleaning and safety indicators for air travel before the holiday travel season. Online travel agencies have also updated traveller safety warnings with information from government health ministries.
They have also made it easier to change or cancel travel plans by offering hotels with free cancellation options and airline flights that have flexible options such as no change fees on ticketing.
“As vaccination and testing programs continue to ramp up, we know travellers will need information on how that impacts travel, and we’re working to make sure they get it.”
Based in Dallas, Texas, Travelocity is owned by Expedia Group, one of the world’s leading travel companies, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes many of the world’s leading online travel brands.