Stats: Most People Are Positive About Travel Despite COVID

According to the latest report from CarTrawler—a B2B technology provider of car rental and mobility solutions to the global travel industry—the lingering effects of COVID-19 and the rising impact of climate change have shaped the behavior of travelers recently and will force the travel industry to evolve. The company surveyed 2,000 adult travelers across the U.S. and U.K. to understand how travel has changed over the past year.

The report, titled “The Evolution of Travel: CarTrawler’s Consumer Trends for 2022,” revealed that people love to travel, but are also eager for safer options, sustainable alternatives and greater convenience when traveling. The bottom line: Despite COVID-19 health concerns, travelers have an overwhelming sense of wanderlust, with 77 percent expressing positive emotions around travel. They are also more environmentally conscious, with 73 percent of travelers willing to pay more to rent an eco-friendly car—up to $22 more per day—and 52 percent preferring carbon-neutral airlines. They are also eager for mobile offerings that ease the booking process and allow them to manage their whole itinerary.

Travelers across the U.S. and U.K. feel good about travel—more than half of those surveyed (51 percent) expect to do more domestic leisure travel over the next year, while 43 percent expect to travel internationally. That said, travelers also have mixed feelings about health regulations. While 53 percent of travelers think travel providers are sharing enough—and being more than transparent—about their COVID-19 policies, more than a third (37 percent) would like more clarity around policies. New rules and regulations, such as cleaning, instilled more confidence in flying among 34 percent of travelers, and 41 percent say that it feels safer and cleaner to fly now than before.

A majority (60 percent) of travelers, whose last trip was more than a year ago, say they are concerned about their health and physical safety if they were to travel now or in the near future, compared to only 36 percent of travelers who have taken trips within the past year. Along the same lines, travelers are looking for more flexibility, with 73 percent saying they would be willing to spend more for flight insurance now than before.

During the course of the pandemic, especially with the transition to remote and hybrid work, people have become more accustomed to using cloud services and applications. The travel industry should accommodate this shift by offering travelers more options for convenience and flexibility. Sixty-one percent of travelers want an easier booking process and more than half (51 percent) wish there was a single mobile app with that they could manage all parts of their trip. Nearly half (49 percent) of travelers say they would purchase a single travel app if it contained all of the essential elements for travel, including tickets, itineraries, passports and vaccine passports. More than half of travelers (55 percent) say they would like to book flights and rental cars at the same time.

When it comes to using mobile travel apps, the generational divide is quite stark—43 percent of Millennials, 36 percent of Gen Z and 31 percent of Gen X have used an airline- or car rental-owned mobile application to book transportation, compared to only 15 percent of Boomers.

The survey also revealed that travelers in the U.S. and U.K. are increasingly interested in more eco-friendly options, and are willing to pay a premium. More than half of travelers (55 percent) would rather rent an eco-friendly car than a gas guzzler, and a third (33  percent) prefer renting electric vehicles. Experience with eco-friendly car rentals has been generational—69 percent of Gen Z and 68 percent of Millennials have rented sustainable vehicles, compared to only 40 percent of Gen X and 8 percent of Boomers.

On average, U.S. travelers say they would be willing to spend $22 and U.K. travelers £14 more per day on top of the standard price to rent an eco-friendly vehicle. However, two-thirds (66 percent) of travelers say that rental car companies should not charge more for eco-friendly options.

When asked about their preferred modes of transportation, air travel narrowly pipped personal vehicles. However, travelers might be doing a three-point turn—since the beginning of the pandemic, 85 percent of travelers have gone on road trips. Gen Z (74 percent) and Millennials (72 percent) who have been on a road trip say that the first time they rented a car rather than using a personal vehicle was during the pandemic, compared to 49 percent of Gen X and 16 percent of Boomers.

Source: CarTrawler

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