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More than two-thirds of travel advisors (67%) believe their clients would be willing to take a COVID-19 test prior to visiting a destination, according to a survey of nearly 600 advisors, conducted July 13-19, as part of TravelAge West’s Need to Know research series.
In addition, although the vast majority of advisors have not taken a flight (89%) or visited a hotel (79%) in the last 90 days, they are nearly split on being ready to take a fam trip, with 47% saying they are ready, and 53% still wanting to wait.
“I personally think that if our clients see that we are in a destination, it builds confidence that we have first-hand experience,” said Melissa Varela, president and CEO of Modern Romance Travel in San Ramon, Calif. “I know that there are some travel advisors who are not ready to do a fam trip or another trip yet, and I respect that. I think however we do it, it’s especially important that we let our clients know what to expect when traveling during this pandemic.”
In lieu of first-person experience on a fam trip, advisors in the survey indicated that the most helpful resource for them is up-to-date information on pandemic protocols in a destination (36%), followed closely by cancellation policies (30%). On-site visits from a trustworthy source (17%), special deals and promotions (9%) and learning about new attractions and activities (8%) all rated as less important.
While 72% of advisors stated that they have not seen an increase in travel from June to July, the majority (54%) say that it is likely that clients are booking road trips themselves, indicating that summer travel — in some form — is happening.
“After months of lockdown, I think many Americans are ready to get out of their homes for any type of vacation,” Varela said. “I know that some of our clients have traded in their international travel for road trips. I’ve seen clients and friends are taking trips to national parks and beach towns to get fresh air. As Americans start to travel within North America, hopefully we will start to see travelers get more comfortable with traveling internationally.”
“Need to Know” is a new weekly research series from TravelAge West that tracks the responses of advisors as they relate to various travel trends and topics. This survey recorded the responses of 596 advisors across the U.S. Click here to see more Need to Know stories.