COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study-Wave 3

Coronavirus Pandemic’s Negative Impact on Travel by Americans Continues to Accelerate

MARCH 31, 2020-- The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on US travel continues to deepen. According to a Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers and the coronavirus pandemic, 84% of them are changing their travel plans for the next six months because of coronavirus, up from 58% two weeks ago and 75% last week.  

The Longwoods International research highlights the growing disruption to the $1 trillion US travel industry (1).  When asked how these travelers will change their plans because of the pandemic, 50% said they would cancel some trips, and 35% said they will reduce travel in the next six months.  Changing trips from international to domestic and switching from air travel to auto travel continue to occur but were less frequent than the two weeks prior.

The survey, supported by Miles Partnership, was fielded March 25-26, 2020 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.

The percentage of American travelers planning trips in the next six months continues to decline, from 87% two weeks ago to 72% at the time of this survey.  However, that number remains strong, suggesting that almost three quarters of US travelers still want to travel (if possible) in the next 6 months. This indicates that there will be a strong, pent up demand for travel when the pandemic is under control. 

The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a more significant factor affecting U.S. travel in the next six months, compared with concerns about the economy and transportation costs. Of the travelers surveyed, 62% of them indicated that the coronavirus pandemic would “greatly impact” their decision to travel in the next six months, up from 35% two weeks ago.  While consumers looking for future travel deals remains popular information with 51% of travelers, other top interest categories include information on local take-out and food delivery (41%) and ways to help local businesses and their employees during the pandemic (40%).

 (1)    Source: US Travel Association – 2019 Figures: https://www.ustravel.org/answersheet

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