Despite Omicron, Travelers Remain Hopeful
Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country due to the Omicron variant, travelers are holding firm in their confidence that their travel plans will continue—that according to a recent Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers.
The study, which was conducted in late January 2022, found a variety of promising insights, including that the percentage of travelers planning trips in the next six months has risen to 91%—matching the highest level seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
"As the Omicron variant begins to tail off in parts of the country, travelers hope they are seeing light at the end of the tunnel," said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. "As the news on the status of the pandemic gets better, we expect the pace of recovery for the travel and tourism industry to continue to improve."
However, that's not to say COVID isn't still influencing travel decisions and patterns. The study also found that 34% of travelers still believe the pandemic would greatly impact their decision to travel in the next six months.
Customer service also remains at the forefront of traveler's minds. Despite the many challenges industry professionals are facing—including staff shortages like never before— 45% of people traveling in the next three months say they expect the same level of service as before the pandemic, with 36% even saying they expect a higher level of service.
Finances are also playing a part, with 26% of travelers saying financial concerns would impact their decision to hit the road—up slightly from 22% earlier in the month. That being said, travelers are increasingly aware of the impact they can have with their dollars. In the last six months, 54% of travelers surveyed said they've consciously purchased takeout food and/or drinks from locally owned eateries. Similarly, 46% have made the choice to dine in at locally owned restaurants, cafes or breweries. Shopping with locally owned retailers, artisans and producers has also proved to be important to 43% of those surveyed.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.