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 Thursday 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 October 22 report: 

  • Travel spending retreated 3% last week—ending a three-week consecutive growth streak
    • In the week ending October 17, travel spending tallied just $12.7 billion and reflected a 43% drop below last year's levels (a $9.5 billion loss)—down from the 41% drop in the prior week
      • While air travel continues to rise steadily, road travel and hotel performance deteriorated
      • The lack of business travel will continue to weigh on travel spending
    • Most states saw moderate declines but several states—mainly in the South—that had been slipping or stagnant in recent weeks experienced strong gains, such as Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee
      • States that have been seeing recent upturns in COVID-19 cases felt the most precipitous declines from the prior week, with North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin and South Dakota experiencing the greatest declines
    • Since the beginning of March, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over $424 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy
    • The continual depressed level of travel spending has caused a loss of $54.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue since March 1
 

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Tracking Traveler Trends:

Air travel finally passed the symbolic one million screenings mark this past Sunday but was still 60% below 2019 levels. Road travel remained stable but performed slightly worse than the past few weeks. Domestic as well as international bookings for future air and hotel travel improved again, with international bookings reaching a new pandemic peak of “only” -61% y/y (compared to -77% in the previous week and -84% two weeks earlier).

Road Travel: Arrivalist Trends Tracker (Year-Over-Year Comparison Now Included) 

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 was slightly slower than previous weeks but remained just 11% below last year levels
    • The latest y/y declines reflect significant improvements from lows of -70% y/y in early April

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 surpassed the symbolic one million mark this past Sunday for the first time since March 16 but were still 60% below last year levels
  • The latest seven-day average of daily screenings (through Tuesday October 20) reached a new pandemic-high of 864,000
  • Screenings over the last seven days were 64% lower than the same period last year, better than any other week since March and on par with Labor Day weekend

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 (-55% y/y) improved compared to any of the past three weeks
  • While regional differences remained strong, most states saw a marked improvement from last week
    • Domestic bookings to Montana (-11%), Wyoming (-12%) and South Dakota (-16%) experienced the lowest y/y declines and improved compared to the previous week (MT: -27%; WY: -27%; SD: -35%)
    • Domestic bookings to New York (-77%) and Massachusetts (-71%) experienced the highest y/y declines but performed better than the previous week (NY: -81%; MA: -74%)
  • International bookings for future travel to the U.S. (-61% y/y) fared significantly better than any other time since the start of the pandemic

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 October 19:   

  • Pessimism about the course of the virus increased again as the number of cases soared across most of the country but these darkening feelings did not meaningfully impact safety perceptions about travel or short-term openness and excitement to travel
    • Nevertheless, they did adversely affect both travel readiness and trip plans
    • Those in a “ready to travel” state of mind decreased to a three-week low of 56%—and the percent of Americans with trips at least tentatively planned dropped back to 75% after reaching 80% for the last few weeks
  • The pandemic is expected to have a significant effect on upcoming winter holiday travel
    • Based on reported 2019 holiday season-related travel and what American travelers anticipate for the 2020 holiday season, nearly 25% fewer Americans will be traveling to celebrate the holidays this year
    • The majority of those not traveling have a pandemic-related reason for not doing so
    • Among those expecting to travel for the holidays, 28% plan to decrease their spending on these holiday trips relative to last year
    • Over one-third (35%) plan to test themselves for COVID-19 prior to their trips
  • Among ski/snowboard travelers who have a destination they regularly visit for overnight ski/snowboard trips, 68% say they are likely to return to this destination for an overnight trip this season
  • In terms of convention/group meeting travel, 71% still say they are unlikely to attend conventions until COVID-19 is more under control, but this metric is at one of the lowest points it has been during the pandemic
    • 16% of American travelers overall—and nearly 40% of convention travelers—say they have plans to attend one or more of these events in the next year, up from 11% in May
    • The percent of convention travelers who report they would be happy if asked to attend such a meeting in the next six months has grown to 50% from 41% in June
    • Trust in conference organizers to institute protocols that look out for attendees’ health as well as in fellow attendees to behave appropriately has grown significantly
      • Trust in fellow attendees reached 71% in the latest survey wave – up from 54% in July and 72% at least somewhat trust conference organizers – up from 65% in July
  • It is important for the travel industry to be realistic about the threat that virtual meetings pose to the volume and economic impact of this type of travel in the future
    • While 60% of American travelers say they prefer in-person to virtual conventions/conferences, one-in-five feel neutral and a similar proportion say they prefer virtual
    • Among those who attended a virtual convention recently, 71% were satisfied virtually participating compared to in-person

 

The Harris Poll CV-19 TrackerOctober 18, 2020

  • COVID-19 lockdowns have given consumers a renewed appreciation for the outdoors
    • 69% of Americans say they have an increased appreciation of the experience and awareness of their surroundings when they are outside
    • Even with winter approaching, Americans are turning to the outdoors for safety, sanity and entertainment
    • Three in 10 (29%) say they will continue to adjust to outdoor socialization during the winter months
  • With high interest in nearly all outdoor activities, consumers are more receptive to outdoor advertising
    • Just under half (45%) say they are noticing outdoor advertising (billboards, outdoor video screens, posters, and signage) more than before the pandemic and 38% say they find these ads useful because they provide them with information on COVID safety and hygiene
    • At the same time, indoor advertising is less noticed and two-thirds (68%) of Americans say they have been spending so much time looking at screens that they tune out digital online ads

 

iMeet Survey of Meeting Planners, October 18, 2020

  • The percentage of planners who believe they will resume face-to-face meetings by the end of the year rose slightly to 17% this week—up from 16%
  • Just under half of planners (49%) have one or more request for proposals for the future in progress and 73% of planners have at least one future face-to-face meeting contracted
  • Looking into 2021, fewer than four in 10 (38%) planners are now targeting the first half of 2021 to resume face-to-face meetings (down from 40% last week), with the majority (24%) targeting Q2

 


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