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WhatThe United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) released new findings from a late October survey of its Tour Operator Active Members regarding post-COVID-19 plans for recovery and resumption of business. The survey garnered an 88% response rate of USTOA Active Members, with 69% of respondents indicating they are “confident or highly confident that guest bookings will increase in 2021.”
Two-thirds (63%) of tour operator members reported an increase in new bookings over the last 60 days, while 29% reported that bookings remained the same. When asked about bookings growth in an August survey, only 38% had seen an increase in bookings for the two months prior.
For 2021, 33% of members indicated new bookings for the first quarter of the year, 69% have new bookings for the second quarter, 92% for the third quarter and 79% for the fourth quarter. A quarter (21%) reported bookings for the fourth quarter of 2020, and 60% reported 2022 bookings.
Why It MattersPassenger confidence in booking for 2021 appears to be on the rise, especially for the second half of the year, prompting optimism among USTOA members for resuming operations. According to the survey, nine out of 10 members are optimistic or cautiously optimistic about their company’s outlook for the resumption of business in 2021. Two-thirds of members plan to resume operations alongside COVID-19, even with lower passenger numbers or lower margins.
Fast Facts- When asked about feedback from customers who traveled with new wellness protocols in place, 33% of members said that all customers reported that the new protocols did not hinder their experience, while 29% said that only a small number of customers felt that the protocols hindered their experience.
- The survey named customer confidence as the biggest challenge to operating in 2021, followed by border closing and confusion across countries/states, and uncertainty of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- When asked about travel advisors, 88% of responding members said they plan to utilize advisors to generate sales in 2021, and 72% expect business booked by advisors to increase or remain the same in 2021.
- Nearly two-thirds (65%) of current Active Member traveler bookings were reported as international destinations, and 35% as North America bookings (U.S., Canada and Mexico).
- Based on new reservations only, the top three international destinations being booked include Italy; Ireland; and Germany, Greece and the U.K. (tied for third). Alaska, Arizona and California tied as the top domestic destinations for new bookings.
The DetailsUnited States Tour Operators Associationwww.ustoa.com