With the busy winter travel season approaching, 4A’s Research wanted to find out consumer attitudes towards traveling this winter and the impact of COVID-19 on travel plans. Using Suzy, a real-time market research firm, we asked 1,000 consumers the how, when, and where of their winter travel plans.
The majority of consumers plan to stay local during the winter holidays and breaks, whether it’s just staying home with their immediate household (49%) or visiting family and friends in the area (42%). 30% will be entertaining local family/friends and only 17% are planning to host family and friends from out of town.
28% of respondents said they will be traveling out of town to be with family and/or friends, while 19% are taking a vacation.
By far, consumers are most comfortable traveling in their own cars during the coronavirus pandemic. Our survey confirms that people are not comfortable traveling on public transportation. 9% of respondents are comfortable flying on an airplane, while 3% are okay in a rental car. This is obviously not a great result for the travel industry, but an optimistic one for the automobile industry, especially used cars.
Please note that 22% of respondents did say they are not planning to travel.
Again, staying where you feel most comfortable is a prerequisite for travel during the coronavirus pandemic. 64% of respondents who plan to travel during the winter breaks are staying with family/friends. 22% will stay at a hotel/motel and 14% will book a vacation rental.
Black consumers are least likely to stay with friends/family, but most likely to stay at a vacation rental.
For those who plan to travel during the winter breaks, 36% are looking at travel options now. 30% plan to book travel a month in advance, while 16% will book a few weeks before and 8% will be last minute bookers. A positive result is 10% already booked a trip!
COVID-19 has broken down structured office and school environments and some are able to work or learn anywhere. We were curious if remote working and learning would also break down traditional vacations.
52% said remote work/school policies would not affect their winter travel plans. About one-third will be flexible with travel days. The winter holidays are an expensive time to travel, so we found that about 20% will take advantage of low prices and/or deals on transportation and lodging.
Also, 20% will stay longer at their destination. After learning that 28% of respondents are traveling to be with family and friends for the winter break, there might be issues with long-term guests!
4A’s Research will continue to examine shifts in consumer behavior and sentiment on a range of topics. Feel free to email us with topics or suggestions for future surveys.