LAST UPDATE: FEB. 24, 2021

Tracking the Return to Normal: Travel

Morning Consult is tracking how safe Americans feel traveling in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
By: Alyssa Meyers

 

This tracker is part of a series from Morning Consult gauging when consumers will return to normal activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and sign up for alerts.

When the pandemic first hit the United States last year, the travel industry ground to a halt. Over the summer, people started to venture out again, mostly sticking to road trips close to home. Thanksgiving and winter holidays then saw significant traffic despite pleas from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Americans to stay at home, but recovery in the travel market remains out of immediate reach. While many are eager to reschedule vacations, comfort with the idea of doing so remained stagnant through 2020.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Comfort With Vacations Inches Up to Reach Third Record High This Year: Since April 2020, Morning Consult has asked consumers if they feel comfortable going on vacation, and the share had rarely moved above 33 percent through mid-January. However, that share increased to 37 percent at the end of January, hit 38 percent in mid-February and then rose another percentage point to 39 percent as of late February, a new record high for the category.

Americans More Comfortable With Renting Cars Than Traveling via Planes, Trains, Buses: Forty-one percent of U.S. adults said they currently feel safe renting a car, a figure that has slightly fluctuated early this year and rose 3 points from mid-February. Though most comfortable driving, people are about as comfortable on planes, trains and buses, with one-quarter or fewer of respondents saying they feel safe with each of those three methods of travel.

Major Hotel Chains Garner Higher Comfort Levels Than Boutiques, Home Sharing, but Boutiques Are Catching Up: Americans are about as comfortable staying at major hotels as they are taking vacations in general. More than one-third (35 percent) of adults said they would feel safe booking a stay at a major chain, a share that has remained mostly flat this month. Thirty-two percent expressed comfort with staying at boutique hotels, closing a gap between those two options that was wider earlier this month. Twenty-nine percent said they would feel comfortable at a home-sharing venue such as an Airbnb, up from 26 percent last week.

ns are about as comfortable staying at major hotels as they are taking vacations in general. More than one-third (36 percent) of adults said they would feel safe booking a stay at a major chain, up 2 percentage points from last week, while 29 percent expressed comfort with staying at boutique hotels, and 26 percent with home-sharing options such as Airbnb.

Comfort With Taking a Vacation Reaches New Record High for Third Time in 2021
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going on vacation right now:
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

35% of Consumers Feel Safe Staying at a Major Hotel Chain, More Than Other Vacation Options
The share of adults who said they feel comfortable right now doing the following activities:
Survey conducted Feb. 18-20, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults with a margin of error of +/-2%.

Tracking the Return to Normal

When will things return to normal and what will our new normal look like? It’s a question that business, economic and government leaders are grappling with as more and more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

To help answer this complicated question, Morning Consult is tracking how consumer attitudes are shifting across a wide range of categories, from travel to entertainment to dining, to gain greater insight into not only when consumers will be ready to return to their normal activities, but how their habits will be forever changed. We’ll be updating these pages every week with new data and analyses. Sign up for alerts below.

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