Get Us in Your Inbox
New data from several sources suggest that there is still a very strong desire to travel, says Craig Compagnone, chief operating officer of marketing firm MMGY Global.
MMGY works with Netbase, a social media analytics platform, to track real-time travel sentiment based on the terminology consumers are using on social platforms.
“And while February and early March included more negative trends, we started to see an interesting shift at the end of March,” Compagnone said.
Compared to February, social mentions about needing or wanting a vacation increased by nearly 130% in March, while discussion about dreaming of vacation overall increased by 17%.
In addition to social media analysis, MMGY sees positive signs in Google Trends data. This month’s data reveals spikes in volume for specific travel terms such as “family vacation,” which has seen an 11% growth, and “luxury travel,” where the volume has increased by 25%, thus suggesting consumer interest in these types of travel.
Prediction: Expect Shorter Booking Windows Based on this data, as well as a recent unpublished TripAdvisor survey shared with MMGY, the firm is predicting a shorter booking window on future travel.
“The travel rebound will not be linear,” Compagnone said. “We need to look at recovery in our industry in at least two aspects: short-term, immediate travel following the lifting of shelter-in-home and travel restrictions, and longer-term strategies as we return to some level of normalcy.”
MMGY believes that long-haul travel will be impacted by longer booking windows, “driven in part by sentiment around safety and current concerns about finances.”
We are in a global lockdown, which is creating a very significant pent-up demand to get out of our local environments and travel.
The TripAdvisor survey suggests that 48% of travelers would be comfortable traveling internationally three to six months following the crisis, compared to two-thirds of travelers being interested in traveling domestically in two months or less.
“Thus, it's important for brands to be thinking about those long-haul markets now as they look toward end-of-the-year and 2021 bookings,” he said.
Unlike past crises such as 9/11 and the 2008 economic recession, the COVID-19 pandemic largely restricts movement beyond one’s own home (for many).
“We are in a global lockdown, which is creating a very significant pent-up demand to get out of our local environments and travel,” Compagnone said. “This is why we believe there will be an immediate response in the industry for short-term bookings, driven especially by leisure drive markets.”
Prediction: Road Trips Will Be Popular Recent MMGY data conducted on behalf of the US Travel Association on traveler sentiment related to COVID-19 reveals that 68% of North Americans feel safe in their personal cars.
“By comparison, 29% feel safe going to a grocery store and 14% would feel safe taking a domestic flight,” Compagnone said. “This indicates that drive market travel and road trips, which are more easily taken last-minute, are likely to increase when travel first returns.”
RELATED: Americans Are Looking Ahead to Domestic Destinations Within Driving Distance
Prediction: Travel May Return by Mid-Summer While there are many factors that make predicting the return of travel difficult to forecast, there are some hopeful signs that travel could return as early as mid-summer, including a recent statement by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who cautiously suggested that summer vacations could be possible.
MMGY’s data from TripAdvisor suggests that there is consumer demand for summer travel if it’s indeed feasible.
“So far in the month of April, TripAdvisor searches for hotel rates and availability during the month of July is up in North America by 4% compared to 2019, up by 5% for the month of August and up by 7% for the month of September,” Compagnone said.
The DetailsMMGY Globalwww.mmgyglobal.comRead more from TravelAge West about the COVID-19 outbreak.