As states and cities move to reopen, the American travel industry launched a major campaign on Tuesday with a clear message for Americans: It’s OK to start planning your next trip—whenever it may be. The “Let’s Go There” campaign, which will extend into 2021, is the result of an industry-wide collaboration of more than 75 businesses and organizations that spent months examining the question, “What is the right message to potential travelers while the nation navigates the realities of a pandemic?”
The answer: Take advantage of the demonstrated personal benefits of travel planning, even by just thinking about a future trip—and whenever travelers are ready to actually take it, the industry will be ready to safely welcome them back.
According to new polling conducted by happiness researcher Michelle Gielan of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, 97 percent of respondents said that having a trip planned makes them happier, while 82 percent reported that it makes them “moderately” or “significantly” happier. Seventy-one percent reported feeling greater levels of energy when they had a trip planned in the next six months.
When asked if survey respondents agreed with these statements, the following percentages said yes:
- “Simply knowing there was something to look forward to would bring me joy:” 95 percent
- “Planning travel for some time in the next six months would bring me happiness:” 80 percent
- “Planning something would make me feel more in control amidst so much uncertainty:” 74 percent
- “Getting to travel and feeling safe while doing it would bring me peace of mind:” 96 percent
These findings come at a time when studies have shown Americans are experiencing the lowest levels of happiness in 50 years. They also accord with previous research, the U.S. Travel Association says, finding an inherent sense of happiness and satisfaction that is generated by the mere act of planning a future travel experience—and that anticipating a trip might even have a stronger positive effect than reflecting on one that has already happened.
“Booking a trip—even just getting it on the calendar—might be the very thing we need to restore our emotional immune system after months of mounting uncertainty and stress,” said Gielan in a press announcement. “In our study on the connection between travel and happiness, 82 percent of people say simply planning a trip makes them ‘moderately’ or ‘significantly’ happier.”
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow added: “The ‘Let’s Go There’ campaign aims to tell travelers, ‘When it’s time for you, we’ll be ready.’ There is pleasure in planning travel, and when the moment is right, the industry is committed to being well-prepared for the safe return of travelers.
While public health is the top priority, U.S. Travel says the need to get Americans moving again as soon as safely possible is urgent for jobs and the economy. Travel supported employment for one in 10 American workers pre-pandemic—but more than half of those jobs were lost between the onset of the pandemic and May 1. The travel industry is committed to being fully prepared for the moment travel demand returns, in order to keep its customers and workers safe and healthy and to restore those jobs as quickly as possible.
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The Let’s Go There Coalition comprises more than 75 partnering businesses and counting, including: American Airlines; American Express; the American Resort Development Association; Chase; Delta Air Lines; Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; Ecolab; Enterprise Holdings, Inc.; Expedia Group; Hilton; the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Visitor & Convention Bureau; Hyatt Hotels Corporation; the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; Loews Hotels & Co; Marriott International; PepsiCo; Sabre; the South Dakota Department of Tourism; United Airlines; the U.S. Travel Association; Visa; Visit California; Visit Spokane; and World Cinema, Inc., among other organizations.