While the leaves are beginning to change colors and the air becomes increasingly crisp, we're reminded that COVID-19 is still a very influential factor in our lives—and the travel industry remains no exception. So, how are travelers feeling about venturing out into the world as we enter our second autumn season of the pandemic?
We examined the latest Longwoods International Travel Sentiment Study to find out.
DELTA REMAINS A FACTOR
According to the recent findings, approximately a third of travelers have postponed travel specifically because of the Delta variant surge. However, 37% of travelers surveyed say they're still planning to travel between October and December of 2021. Only 7% have said they were never planning to travel in 2021.
While only 8% of travelers are cancelling their trips over the next six months, 32% also say they're making choices like choosing destinations they can drive to as opposed to destinations that require flying.
DOES SERVICE MATTER?
In short, yes. But many are familiar with the struggles many business and organizations have faced with staffing, which in turn can cause a disruption in the types of service travelers expect. According to the latest data, 46% of travelers said they received the same level of service as before the pandemic during their most recent summer trip. 27% reported a higher level of service, while 27% said their level of service was lower.
What about their expectations for fall travel?
51% said they're anticipating the same level of service as they did pre-pandemic. And optimism has increased! 31% anticipate a higher level of service, while a lower 18% expect a lower level of service than before.
"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."
Overall, it should come as no surprise that situations continue to evolve and pent up demand for travel despite a variety of challenges remains present.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.