After being cooped up at home, are you dreaming of travel despite the health risks? If so, you’re like a lot of Americans.
In the latest April survey from the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative at the University of Florida, 74% of respondents said they felt anxious about travelling within the US, but despite the anxiety, people’s interest in travelling is piqued.
“Travel is a part of our life and when we aren’t able to do it, we realize how much it plays a role in what we’re looking for in our plans and in our future free time,” explains Director Lori Pennington-Gray. “They’re looking to figure out when they can get back to doing what they want to do, whether that’s seeing the world or going to see their families.”
As the country reopens and the perception of COVID-19 changes, we may see the level of travel anxiety drop. In other countries, including Italy, domestic travel plans are already inching their way back to normal levels.
Will Americans join them? The data suggests advertisers are already counting on it.
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Will we see a domestic travel boom this summer?
We’ve been stuck at home and are itching to get out of our monotonous lives. Even though summer is typically a time when international travel peaks, travel will look different in post-quarantine times.
In countries most impacted by COVID-19, the amount of interest in international travel to and from has dropped significantly. For example, data from Sojern found that foreign searches for lodging in Spain in July are down by 94% year-over-year.
Between uncertainty and travel restrictions, people won’t be traveling internationally. Roughly half of all countries closed their borders to tourists and by the end of April, none had lifted the restrictions put in place.
With international restrictions still in place, we are already seeing domestic travel increase in places that were first impacted by COVID-19. China, for instance, is seeing a boost from domestic tourism.
One analysis conducted in Australia found that their regional destinations and hotels were in a good position to rebound because they will capture the redirected international traffic.
“The potential transfer of outbound visitors to domestic visitors in hotels is considerably higher than the loss of international nights across cities and regional areas,” said CEO of Dransfield Hotels Dean Dransfield. When travellers who were planning vacations abroad turn their trips inward, domestic travel could outweigh the losses of international tourism.
Americans are behaving similarly. With limited space to roam and cabin fever, 1 in 3 Americans say they are planning a road trip this summer. Road trips will be popular because they give Americans a sense of control of where they can go and see. It feels safer in a personal car, rather than getting on an airplane or public transportation.
The travel industry as a whole is hurting and their ad spend reflects that. Ad spending from the travel industry fell dramatically amid COVID-19 and remains low.
In April, the average weekly spend was just over $5M. In January & February, that figure was at $61M (-92%).
We see how stark the contrast isYear over year. The industry started the year off strong but beginning the week of 3/15 spend was cut dramatically. When we compare the time period of 3/15-5/9 to the year before, ad spending from the travel sector is down 87%.
Tourism within the United States has slowly crept back up from their low. In fact, every week in April we saw WoW improvement in ad spending, going from 280k in the first week of the month to $768k in the last week (+174%).
By the week of May 17th, spend was back over $1.5M. Despite this positive momentum, spend remains down from last year by over 50%.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen new advertising pushes from brands like:
- Visit California
- Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority
- The Florida Keys & Key West
Las Vegas has recently put dollars behind this ad, running it on TV networks like NBC, CBS, Bravo and E!.
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