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MMGY Travel Intelligence, the research and insights division of MMGY Global, has released the 2021 “Spring Edition” of its Portrait of American Travelers survey, now in its 31st year.
Findings from the study reveal “unprecedented” optimism among leisure travelers ahead of the upcoming summer travel season, and while concerns for safety are continuing to affect demand, there is still a “considerable increase in travel intent,” according to MMGY.
Amid positive signs such as increased vaccinations and decreasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Travel Sentiment Index rose to 119 — pre-pandemic levels — indicating that adults are thinking much more positively about travel than they have for the last year. This is optimistic news for the travel industry as summer approaches, with MMGY predicting a travel rebound for the upcoming season.
Advisors should note that interest in international destinations remains low, with only 19% of travelers likely to take an international trip in the next six months. On the domestic front, the states that U.S. travelers expressed the most interest in visiting over the next two years include Hawaii (64%), Florida (62%), California (53%), Colorado (50%), Alaska (49%) and New York (49%). Destinations seeing decreased levels of interest, meanwhile, include Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C., likely due to political and social unrest over the last year.
Road trips are also in high demand, continuing to be the most likely form of near-term vacation travel. Three in five U.S. adults (62%) expect to take at least one leisure trip in the next six months and note their preferred mode of transportation as a personal car. Another 38% say they will take a domestic flight.
- Over the next 12 months, four in five (81%) U.S. adults expect to take at least one trip
- Active leisure travelers who intend to travel in the next 12 months expect to take 3.7 overnight trips this year and spend an average of $2,415.
- Gen Xers and baby boomers plan to take fewer trips than Gen Zs and millennials but spend more overall.
- Travelers are increasingly considering the impact of their travels, with 15% indicating that a travel provider’s focus on sustainability and environmental considerations “greatly impacts their travel decision-making.” Younger travelers in particular are willing to pay more for travel brands that demonstrate environmental responsibility.
- Overall, 83% of travelers also indicate that they’re open to changing some element of their travel behavior (such as traveling in the off-season to ease overcrowding or cutting down on single-use plastics) in order to reduce their environmental impact.
- Perceptions of safety remain lower than pre-pandemic levels, registering 12 points lower on the Travel Sentiment Index at the time of the survey compared to February 2020.
“It has been a devastating year for the travel industry, but companies have remained incredibly resilient and steadfast in their commitment to meeting travelers’ needs and concerns,” said Chris Davidson, executive vice president of MMGY Travel Intelligence. “The results from the study show that we are already in the midst of an impressive rebound, and travel companies should leverage these insights and use them to guide their strategies in the months ahead.”
The DetailsMMGY Globalwww.mmgyglobal.com