A Travel Leaders Network survey of nearly 2,700 frequent travellers in the USA found that half are starting to make finite plans for their next holidays or have already made plans, while the other half say they are dreaming of when they can travel again. 50% of those surveyed said they plan to take their next vacations in 2020.“Travelling somewhere this year is on the agenda for many travel enthusiasts. These findings align with reports from our travel advisors who are seeing calls and bookings on the rise,” said Roger Block, President of Travel Leaders Network.
The survey was conducted in mid to late May and sent to clients of select Travel Leaders Network agencies in the US.
When asked when they plan to take their next vacation, 18% of those surveyed said this summer; 24% chose autumn; 8% plan to travel during the upcoming holiday season; 43% opted for 2021 and 8% said 2022.
Most of those surveyed who said they will travel this year said they plan to fly to their next vacation destination (45%), 25% will drive, while 18% said they plan to cruise.
Uncrowded, outdoor and beach experiences topped the list of desired domestic destinations, with National Parks, Florida, Hawaii, Alaska and “anywhere uncrowded” high on the list while traditionally popular sites such as New York and Nevada, popular for Las Vegas trips, scoring lower.
Europe (38%), the Caribbean (34%) and Mexico (15%) are the top-ranked International destinations of interest.
“Despite enthusiastic plans to travel, respondents did acknowledge concerns they had about increased risk of transmission while traveling, as well as being quarantined,” said Block.
Still, travellers are eager for information on travel planning. A strong majority of those surveyed (nearly 60 percent) want to receive promotional offers and details about supplier Peace of Mind policies. Peace of Mind policies outline the cancellation and refund requirements of the booked hotel, airline, cruise ship or tour operator. The survey found that financial incentives and flexible refund policies are strong motivators. Tips on health and safety are desired by 57 percent.
Travel Leaders travel advisors speaking directly about their recent bookings expressed that their savvier travellers are excited to travel again soon and are not particularly concerned about Covid-19, as they can protect themselves as easily on vacation as they can shopping at home. Clients have expressed more concern about whether or not a second wave would cause the cancellation of their travel plans for this summer or fall because they are eager to travel. Others have expressed concern about their employers putting them on a two-week quarantine upon return if they do travel.
Here’s what three advisors said about some of their recent bookings of clients traveling in 2020.• “I have new clients from Houston who found me through an internet search in April and they are leaving on June 6 for their 15th wedding anniversary trip to Antigua,” said Pam McIntyre of Travel Leaders in Maple Grove, Minn. “They originally wanted to go to Jamaica, but the resort there is not opening until later in the month and the husband said they couldn’t change the date because his in-laws are coming in to watch the kids. He has no concerns about travelling, and in fact says he is looking forward to there being fewer guests at the resort than there would have been if we were not dealing with a pandemic.”• “I have four women going to Cancun the first week of July 2020,” said Angela Hendricks with Bentley Hedges Travel in Oklahoma City. “They were my first phone call since the pandemic started that wasn’t a cancellation. I’ve had several bookings since then. I have a family with two teenage sons, ages 15 and 13, who are going to Alaska for 10 days. They will visit Anchorage, Talkeetna, Girdwood and Soldotna for fishing and wildlife excursions.”• “I have a destination wedding in the Riviera Maya, Mexico that was canceled in March and rebooked for November,” said Jamie Buss, a Market Square Travel advisor in Woodbury, Minn. “About 25 guests ranging in age from 2 to 70 are scheduled to attend – this is about 80% of the original attendees. Some of the others have a wait-and-see approach.”
“There is no better time to use a travel agent,” said Block. “Travel advisors have up-to-the-minute information and they are there to help you if plans change.”
PHOTO – TOP OF PAGE – Mexico ranks third behind Europe and the Caribbean as to where travellers are booking their international vacations for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, according to new Travel Leaders Network survey.