The findings of the latest Travel Advisors COVID-19 Sentiment Barometer (Wave III) were released today. This online survey monitors the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel agencies.
Since the survey began in June, advisors have consistently reported interest in international travel is accounting for about 25% of customer inquiries, showing that the ever-changing restrictions on travel and headlines about the spread of COVID-19 internationally are not causing up or down swings in consumer interest for international travel. For comparison, international travel accounted for 40% of advisor inquiries prior to the pandemic.
Travelers are also looking far ahead for international travel, as there was an increase in the percentage of international travel, cruises and group tour vacations being booked within the next 12 months. Domestic travel continues to be the most attractive type of trip for customers at the moment, accounting for 40% of all inquiries. Additionally, advisors reported in August that 20% of incoming North American travel bookings are for the next 30 days, up from 16% in July. It’s important to note that at the same time there was also a sizeable increase in the number of advisors who believe promotional offers would impact booking decisions, which rose from 39% in July to 44% in August.
A look at advisors’ most popular destination inquiries shows travelers are seeking out sunshine and the great outdoors for domestic trips. The most inquired about U.S. destinations are Alaska, Florida, California, Hawaii, Las Vegas and Colorado, while the top Canadian destinations are Vancouver, British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies.
Inquiries for Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe are predictably for familiar and historically popular destinations, while certain long-haul, bucket list trips continue to be of interest as well. The Riviera Maya/Cancun, Los Cabos and Jamaica are at the top of the list for travelers looking to visit Mexico and the Caribbean, while Greece, Italy, London, Croatia, Ireland and France were the most inquired about European destinations. Australia, Tahiti, Hawaii, Japan and Thailand are most popular with travelers looking to explore long-haul destinations.
The following are additional key findings from Wave III of the Travel Advisors COVID-19 Sentiment Barometer, which surveyed 440 travel advisors in the U.S. and Canada from August 24–September 8, 2020.
• North American beach and mountain destinations continue to be of most interest to clients, with clients’ interest in North American mountain destinations higher than in June and July.
• Clients continue to feel more comfortable staying in smaller, more private accommodations in lieu of larger hotels or short-term rentals, though all accommodation types show rising interest.
• Advisors report the majority of clients are interested in couples vacations, followed by family vacations – both with their immediate family and multigenerational trips.
• Health concerns related to COVID-19, government advisories/restrictions and concerns about the visitor experience continue to be the primary barriers to travel, though they are all down compared to July.