Tripadvisor this week released the findings of a new research report based on the platform’s insight into shifting traveler trends, revealing how consumers are planning to travel in 2021 and what affect the ongoing pandemic has had on their trip planning habits.
The report, titled “The Year of the Travel Rebound: 5 Traveler Trends to Watch Out for in 2021,” analyzed first-party search data, as well as traveler sentiment across six major markets (the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore). It identified consumers’ increasing confidence that they will travel abroad in 2021, particularly in the second half of the year. In fact, globally, the majority of hotel clicks on Tripadvisor are already shifting to international destinations for May 2021 trips onwards (as opposed to domestic destinations, which dominated 2020).
The five trends highlighted in the report are:
1. Travelers are planning to travel abroad in the second half of the year, but won’t wait to make plans
Nearly half (47 percent) of travelers surveyed globally say they are planning to travel internationally in 2021, including 45 percent of U.S. travelers. In fact, one in 10 global respondents (11 percent) have already booked an international trip for 2021, including 14 percent of respondents in the U.S. The most eager to venture abroad, however, are German and U.K. travelers; in the first week of January, 85 percent of hotel clickers on Tripadvisor in either country were planning international breaks for later this year.
2. Vaccinations will be a game-changer for traveler confidence
The widespread rollout of vaccines won’t just impact travelers’ confidence to travel, it will have a major influence on where leisure travelers are prepared to go, too. Globally, more than three quarters (77 percent) of travelers surveyed say they will be more likely to travel internationally if they receive the vaccine, rising to 86 percent for travel domestically. In the U.S., those numbers change to 69 percent and 80 percent, respectively.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents globally say that they would only travel to destinations that required visitors to be vaccinated before travel, with Australian (32 percent) and U.S. (30 percent) travelers the most likely to expect destinations to adopt this safety measure.
3. Domestic vacations remain high on travelers’ wish list for 2021
While international tourism looks to be getting a boost this year following a shutdown for much of 2020, domestic travel isn’t necessarily going to take a back seat in 2021. In the first week of January, nearly 70 percent of hotel clickers on Tripadvisor were booking future domestic trips, while, further out, May through August are still proving the most popular months for domestic vacations.
Globally, three-quarters (74 percent) of travelers surveyed plan to take at least one overnight domestic leisure trip in 2021—and an enthusiastic 80 percent in the U.S. In the U.S, one-third of respondents (34 percent) are planning at least three domestic trips this year, compared to 31 percent of Australians surveyed and 24 percent of British travelers.
4. The joy of vacation-planning will be stronger than ever as travelers spend more time researching 2021 trips
With travel plans dashed in early 2020, many people have been dreaming about their next big vacation for more than 10 months, so it’s no surprise that travelers are extra conscious of getting it just right. Three-quarters (74 percent) of travelers surveyed globally say they will spend more time choosing a destination this year, including 65 percent of travelers in the U.S. Further, 64 percent of travelers in the U.S. will spend more time reading reviews, 63 percent will spend more time selecting their accommodation and 70 percent will spend more time finding things to do.
5. Consumers can’t wait to dine out again, but their taste for takeout will still endure
As in-person dining was restricted in many countries throughout 2020, the success of takeout and delivery services soared, as consumers sought to satisfy their appetite. But encouragingly for the hospitality industry, in-person dining’s rebound in 2021 doesn’t mean a decline in takeout and delivery demand. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents globally say they plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often in 2021 than they did in 2020 and a quarter of respondents (27 percent) say they plan to order more takeout meals this year. In the U.S., 54 percent of respondents plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often this year and 38 percent plan to order more takeout