While the latest travel data reflects the dire situation that we face, it is very useful when speaking with Congress, the administration and government leaders about the urgent need to provide relief to our industry now. We also know that real-time insights are critical to detecting shifts in traveler behavior and sentiment so that you can plan appropriately for the future.

Note: This page will be updated every Friday with new travel industry data. 

Weekly Analysis

Analysis by Tourism Economics shows a week-by-week outlook on travel spending in the U.S. The analysis also looks at regional and state-by-state breakdowns. Findings from the November 19 report:

  • Travel spending rose 4% last week—recovering about one-third of the prior week’s 11% decline
    • In the week ending November 14, travel spending tallied $11.9 billion, reflecting a 44% drop below last year's levels (a $9.5 billion loss)
      • While this is an improvement from the 46% year-over-year (y/y) decline in the previous week, it remains worse than the 42% y/y decline (and $12.9 billion in travel spending) two weeks earlier
      • The y/y decline in travel spending has remained in the -41% to -46% range for 14 of the last 15 weeks, the lone exception being the first week of September due to a boost from Labor Day holiday travel
    • Likely a result of the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the region, the Midwest was the only region not to improve from the prior week
      • Seven of the 17 states that experienced worsening conditions in the week ending November 14 were in the Midwest, with Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana experiencing some of the largest declines of the week
      • On the other hand, the severe declines in West Virginia, South Carolina, Nevada and Puerto Rico in the week ending November 7 proved to be a one-week phenomenon, as these states were among the best performers last week
    • Since the beginning of March, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in $463 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy
    • The continual depressed level of travel spending has caused a loss of $59.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue since March 1

Note: The full report will be available online after the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

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Tracking Traveler Trends:

The latest travel indicators show a noticeable improvement in air travel—with TSA screenings tied at their best y/y performance since the start of the pandemic. Road travel remained relatively flat in recent weeks, but much improved on a y/y basis since the spring and summer. Domestic bookings for future travel declined slightly compared to last year but international bookings improved.

Road Travel: Arrivalist Trends Tracker

The Daily Travel Index from Arrivalist measures consumer road trips of 50 miles or more in all 50 U.S. states. It now provides year-over-year comparisons.

  • Road travel has remained roughly flat over most weeks since Labor Day—in the -10% to -15% y/y range, this past week being no exception
    • While there have not been any significant weekly improvements since the end of the summer, road travel has generally maintained a relatively good performance over these last few weeks, with lower y/y declines on a consistent basis than any other time since the start of the pandemic

Air Travel: Passenger Screenings at TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) updates passenger screening numbers on a daily basis, providing a comparison to the same time last year.

  • Daily TSA screenings increased last week and also improved on a y/y basis
    • The latest seven-day average of daily screenings (through Tuesday, November 17) was 1.8% higher than the previous seven-day period, and “only” 63% lower than in the same period last year
    • Though it is still deep in negative territory, the latest 63% y/y decline reflects an improvement over the 66% y/y decline in the previous seven-day period; it is also—tied with the seven-day period ending Oct. 27—the best y/y performance since the start of the pandemic

Tracking Search and Booking Behavior 

ADARA's Traveler Trends Tracker taps into real-time travel data on travel-related consumer behavior including hotel volume and flight bookings for both business and leisure travel. 

In addition, ADARA directly provides U.S. Travel with national and state-level booking data, summarized below:

  • Domestic air and hotel bookings for future travel (-60% y/y) were slightly lower than in the previous week
  • Regional differences remained strong:
    • Domestic bookings to Montana (-22%), Wyoming (-26%) and, for the first time, Delaware (-34%) experienced the lowest y/y declines
      • Domestic bookings to New York (-81%), Massachusetts (-75%) and Connecticut (-75%) experienced the highest y/y declines
  • International bookings for future travel to the U.S. (-58% y/y) performed better than domestic bookings for the first time since April and were significantly improved from earlier weeks

Traveler and Consumer Sentiment Survey Results

This weekly survey by Destinations Analysts tracks key consumer perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of American business and leisure travelers. Key findings from November 16:   

  • Americans’ concerns about contracting COVID-19 rose in recent days as daily COVID-19 cases skyrocketed: 61% now believe the pandemic will be getting worse in the next month; just 14% feel it will get better
  • The trajectory of the pandemic continues to depress how Americans feel about travel for the near-term
    • Those with high excitement levels for taking a potential getaway in the next month (42%) plummeted over seven percentage points since last week, and openness to travel inspiration (42%) also declined to the lowest level it has been since August 9
    • The percent that agree they have lost their interest in travel for the time being increased to 46% from 43% in the last week
    • About 60% of American travelers say they wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy travel, and 47% say they would feel guilty traveling right now
    • Trip cancellations and postponements have increased (47%) and 63% are now less likely to travel in the next three months
    • Just three in 10 plan to take a holiday season-related trip this year — down from 55% in 2019
  • While feelings about travel in the short-term may be depressed, there continue to be positive indicators for travel’s future
    • The perception of travel and leisure activities as unsafe has not notably increased back to peak levels recorded in July and April
    • Americans’ travel state-of-mind remained stable with 57% in a ready to travel state of mind
  • In addition, nearly 80% have at least tentative trip plans for some time in the next year, although over a third are eyeing May 2021 or later
  • Over 60% of American travelers said Pfizer’s promising vaccine announcement made them more or much more optimistic that they can travel safely in 2021

 

Longwoods COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study, November 18, 2020

  • Although travel looked different and there was a significant decline in domestic travel and visitor spending in Q2 2020, Americans were still traveling
  • Half of domestic trips in Q2 were to visit friends and family, additionally, the share of outdoor trips nearly doubled in Q2 2020, compared to Q2 2019, and now represent over 10% of all overnight trips
  • Average trip spending was down almost one-quarter for the first half of 2020 compared to 2019 – particularly in the recreation, food and beverage and lodging categories
  • Road trips dominated with three-quarters of travelers preferring to travel by auto and short-term rentals gained share over traditional lodging accommodations
  • Domestic trips also increased in length—averaging around four nights

 

Global Business Travel Association Business Travelers Itching to Get Back on Road, November 19, 2020

  • Half of Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) travel buyer and procurement professionals feel their employees are ‘willing’ or ‘very willing’ to travel for business in the current environment
  • Following recent announcements of potential, effective vaccines, six in 10 GBTA travel buyer and procurement professionals believe that their company will be more likely to allow business travel and employees to attend in-person meetings in 2021
  • Regarding government restrictions, 55% of North American GBTA travel buyer and procurement professionals feel there should be an exception to mandated quarantine requirements for international business travelers, who take short-duration business trips that involve meeting with only a few people
  • Domestic business travel is anticipated to return to 50% of 2019 levels within the next nine months according to 58% of non-European buyers while expectations for international travel will take longer with 54% expecting it will take 10-24 months to reach 50% of 2019’s level

 

iMeet Survey of Meeting Planners, November 15, 2020

  • For the second week in a row, the percentage of planners with a request for proposal in progress declined to 43%, down from 45%, while the percent of planners with at least one future face-to-face meeting booked or contracted held steady at 70%
  • Three-quarters (74%) of meeting planners anticipate they will resume face-to-face meetings sometime in 2021, with half not planning on meeting until Q2 (25%) or Q3 (26%)
  • Uncertainty about when to resume face-to-face events increased to 18% this week—up from 16%

Harris Poll CV-19 Tracker, November 18, 2020

  • Working remotely has its benefits. Americans have enjoyed the flexibility of working remotely and also feel their personal health and working relationships have improved
    • Two-thirds (67%) of remote workers say their lifestyle has gotten healthier since working from home and 41% say communication with their manager is more effective since working remotely
  • Yet, there are aspects of going to the office that Americans miss—one-quarter of remote workers miss in-person meetings

Travel Industry Employment: Recently Updated Outlook (October 6, 2020)

  • 39% of direct travel jobs have vanished over the past seven months with 3.5 million direct travel jobs lost
  • Without immediate aid, 50% of all direct travel jobs will be lost by December—an additional loss of 948,000 jobs, and a total loss of 4.5 million direct travel jobs
    • 33% of all jobs lost in the U.S. economy are attributable to declines in direct travel employment. This will rise to 45% without immediate aid (assuming a stable overall jobs market)
  • In terms of total travel-supported jobs (including indirect and induced employment), so far 4.2 million jobs have been lost, and without immediate aid, 5.5 million travel-supported jobs will be lost.

 


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