Optimism Among Travelers Back To Pre-Pandemic Level, Report Reveals

by Olamilekan Okeowo

A recent report by MMGY Global has revealed that optimism among travellers is back to pre-pandemic level while predicting a massive summer rebound.

The report tagged 2021 “Spring Edition Portrait of American Travelers” survey from the Travel Intelligence Arm of MMGY Global’s research and insights division stated that following a year of uncertainty, along with constantly changing attitudes and policies toward travel, the results indicated unprecedented optimism from leisure travelers in advance of the summer travel season.

According to the report, The Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI) rose to 119 (pre-pandemic levels), affirming that U.S. adults are thinking much more positively about travel than they were throughout this past year.

While there is much optimism, concerns for safety continue to affect demand, although not slowing what is a considerable increase in travel intent. Along with positive signs such as increased vaccinations and decreasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, safety remains below its pre-pandemic levels. At the time of the survey, it lingered 12 points lower on the TSI than it did in 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, EVP, 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 report stated.

The top states of interest among U.S. travelers over the next two years are Hawaii (64%), Florida (62%), California (53%), Colorado (50%), Alaska (49%), and New York (49%). It is also important to note that some destinations – Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. – have experienced large decreases in interest, which is likely the result of extensive political and social unrest that occurred in these destinations throughout the past year. 

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There is some interest in international destinations. However, it remains relatively low with only 19% of leisure travelers indicating that they are likely to take an international trip in the next six months – down from 24% in January 2020.

Road trips continue to be the most likely form of near-term vacation travel. Three in 5 U.S. adults (62%) expect to take at least one leisure vacation during the next six months with the preferred mode of transportation being a personal car, while 2 in 5 (38%) say they will take a domestic flight. Looking further out to the next 12 months, 4 in 5 (81%) U.S. adults expect to take at least one trip.

Corporate business travel demand has historically driven fare and rate strength. However, MMGY Global’s CEO, Clayton Reid, foresees a unique and historic shift in this dynamic ahead.

“MMGY Global believes the next six months will see a unique environment whereby weekend leisure travel demand is so significant that it pushes leisure demand to weekdays, thereby displacing traditional corporate travel. We are calling this ‘reverse-compression.’ 

We think trip volume will not only be led by leisure demand but that fare and rate strength will also come first from consumers and second from business, even in market environments and periods where that just doesn’t happen,” said Reid.

With more than 38 years of experience, MMGY Global has been the world’s leading integrated global marketing firm specializing in the travel, hospitality, and entertainment industries.

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