Travelers Settle into a New Normal during COVID-19 Pandemic
According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, after 18 months of living with the pandemic, travel patterns have been altered, at least for the time being. With about half of travelers changing their travel plans because of coronavirus, 32% are choosing drive destinations over fly destinations, and a similar percentage have shifted from international trips to domestic ones. Other changes include taking fewer or even no trips, while some travelers switch from urban to rural destinations. About a third of travelers have postponed travel specifically because of the recent surge of the delta variant of COVID-19.
“The data clearly shows how the pandemic has profoundly changed the U.S. travel industry, not only the number of people traveling, but where they are going and what they are doing when they do travel,” said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. “What we don’t know yet is how many of these changes are temporary, and how many will be the new normal for both travelers and the industry.”
More than 80% of travelers expected service levels from travel suppliers – hotels, restaurants, attractions, airlines, etc. -- to be equal to or higher than before the pandemic. However, a quarter of travelers judged the quality of service on their last trip to be below what they had experienced prior to COVID-19.
The survey, supported by Miles Partnership, was fielded September 15, 2021 using a national sample randomly drawn from a consumer panel of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and over. Quotas were used to match Census targets for age, gender, and region to make the survey representative of the U. S. population.