NEEDHAM, Mass. — Tripadvisor has released new research revealing how consumers are planning to travel in 2021 and what impact the ongoing pandemic has had on their trip-planning habits.
The report, which analyzed first-party search data, as well as traveller sentiment across six major markets (the U.S., U.K., Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore), identified consumers’ increasing confidence that they will travel abroad in 2021 — particularly in the second half of the year. In fact, globally, the majority of hotel clicks on Tripadvisor are already shifting to international destinations for May 2021 trips onwards (as opposed to domestic destinations, which dominated 2020).
The five trends highlighted in the report are:
1. Travellers are planning to travel abroad in the second half of the year, but won’t wait to make plans
Nearly half (47 per cent) of travellers surveyed globally say they’re planning to travel internationally in 2021, including 45 per cent of U.S. travellers. One in 10 (11 per cent) global respondents have already booked an international trip for 2021, including 14 per cent of respondents in the U.S. The most eager to venture abroad are German and U.K. travellers — in the first week of January, 85 per cent of hotel clickers on Tripadvisor in either country were planning international breaks for later this year.
2. Vaccinations will be a game-changer for traveller confidence
The widespread roll-out of vaccines won’t just impact travellers’ confidence to travel, it will have a major influence on where leisure travellers are prepared to go, too. Globally, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of travellers surveyed say they will be more likely to travel internationally if they receive the vaccine, rising to 86 per cent for travel domestically. In the U.S., those numbers change to 69 per cent and 80 per cent respectively. More than a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents globally say they would only travel to destinations that required visitors to be vaccinated before travel, with Australian (32 per cent) and U.S. (30 per cent) travellers the most likely to expect destinations to adopt this safety measure.
3. Domestic vacations remain high on travellers’ wish list for 2021
While international tourism looks to be getting a boost this year, domestic travel isn’t necessarily going to take a back seat in 2021. In the first week of January, nearly 70 per cent of hotel clickers on Tripadvisor were booking future domestic trips, while May through August are still proving the most popular months for domestic vacations. Globally, three quarters (74 per cent) of travellers surveyed plan to take at least one overnight domestic leisure trip in 2021 — and an enthusiastic 80 per cent in the U.S. In the U.S., just over a third of respondents (34 per cent) are planning at least three domestic trips this year, compared to 31 per cent of Australians surveyed and 24 per cent of British travellers.
4. The joy of vacation planning will be stronger than ever as travellers spend more time researching 2021 trips
With travel plans dashed in early 2020, many people have been dreaming about their next big vacation for more than 10 months, so it’s no surprise that travellers are extra conscious of getting it just right. Three quarters (74 per cent) of travellers surveyed globally say they will spend more time choosing a destination this year.
5. Consumers can’t wait to dine out again, but their taste for takeout will still endure
As in-person dining was restricted in many countries throughout 2020, the success of takeout and delivery services soared. But, encouragingly for the hospitality industry, in-person dining’s rebound in 2021 doesn’t mean a decline in takeout and delivery demand. Nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents globally say they plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often in 2021 than they did in 2020 and a quarter of respondents (27 per cent) say they plan to order more takeout meals this year. In the U.S., 54 per cent of respondents plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often this year and 38 per cent plan to order more takeout.
“Despite the fact that many countries around the world are still grappling with high infection rates of COVID-19, many travellers are feeling optimistic that they will be able to vacation abroad this year, particularly coinciding with the roll-out of a vaccine. Consumer appetite for travel is as strong as it has been since the start of the pandemic and, as our data shows, many people are already actively planning their next big trip — even for trips more than four months out,” says Shibani Walia, senior research analyst, Tripadvisor, “For destinations, brands and tourism operators, it’s so important that they act now to attract this early booking demand, or else they risk missing out to the competition.”
The full report, entitled The Year of the Travel Rebound: 5 Traveler Trends to Watch Out for in 2021 is available here.