NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — News about COVID vaccines are promising, but most consumers surveyed are not waiting for a vaccine to travel and an increasing number of travelers say it OK to travel now according to a new report from Oliver Wyman.
“Vaccines are important but personal judgement is still the leading factor for deciding to travel, ahead of government restrictions and advice from the World Health Organization,” said Bruce Spear, a partner with Oliver Wyman. “This means the travel industry must focus on measures that increase individual customer safety such as mandatory masks, cleaning and rapid testing and not wait for governments to issue directives.”
The report, Anticipating the Travel Recovery, found several other changes in traveler behavior since the first survey was originally conducted in late April/early May. For example:
- Leisure Travel — Interest in leisure travel remains strong and has grown since May, with 63 percent of respondents expecting to travel the same amount or more post-pandemic. While most travelers in the US, Spain, Italy, China, and Australia are planning domestic trips, travelers in Canada, UK, France, and Germany are planning international locations mostly in their home region for their next leisure trip post-COVID. The number one driver for these leisure trips globally is to visit friends and family. More than 55 percent of US respondents are more likely to visit friends and family compared to before COVID, showing pent up demand for Thanksgiving and holiday travel.
- Business Travel — Forty-three percent of all respondents who travel for business plan to travel less in the future, a 16-point increase from May. Business travelers have gotten more comfortable with teleconferencing, but only 53 percent agree that they can develop new relationships via teleconferencing. This drops to 47 percent for business travelers under 30. While half of business travelers expect no change in trip duration, 30 percent expect to shorten their trips when possible, which will impact hotel stays.
- Modes of Transport — Overall respondents are more comfortable with various transportation options than they were in May. Half are now comfortable taking a flight and almost 60 percent are comfortable staying at a hotel. However, less than a third are comfortable using public transportation or ride sharing. In the US, over 40 percent of respondents are still uncomfortable using public transportation or rideshare.
- Cruises – Back in May, the cruise industry was still reeling from news of passengers quarantined at sea. Since then, the gap between cruises and other experiences involving significant interaction with others has closed. Respondents now feel as comfortable taking a cruise as attending a convention or going to a concert or sporting event. Past cruisers are more comfortable than first timers.
The survey also asked people about actual travel they have done during the pandemic. Overall, 31 percent have traveled by air and 24 percent by train (more than 2 hours) since March. Sixty percent of these trips were primarily