The impact of COVID-19 has been challenging in ways we never could have imagined. Our personal and professional lives shifted dramatically as lockdowns and curfews swept the globe, confining us to our homes and transforming our social interactions. Throughout these challenging times, our appetite to explore the world has only grown, according to new Booking.com research*. Thanks to the roll-out of vaccine programmes globally, travellers are finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and consumer confidence is rising.
Despite knowing that the road to recovery is still quite long, two thirds of global travellers (66%) feel more hopeful about travelling in 2021 due to the roll-out of vaccines. The same number of global travellers (66%) state that not being able to travel extensively in 2020 has made them crave travel even more in 2021.
According to 64% of respondents, travel is more important now than it was before the pandemic. So much so that 71% of travellers would even go so far as to state that they would rather go on a vacation in 2021 than find true love. Additionally, 66% would prioritise travelling over success at work, preferring to go on vacation than get promoted.
Over half (53%) of travellers have used the increased time at home to plan future travel, while almost half (45%) have banked more vacation days and are excited about the potential of taking longer vacations in 2021. Beach holidays are still growing in popularity, with six in ten (61%) feeling confident that they’ll be able to hit the beach by summer 2021.
Despite their anticipation to get back out there, the vaccine still plays a huge role in boosting traveller confidence. Over half (59%) of global travellers say they won’t travel internationally until they have been vaccinated, which rises to 68% among those 55+ years old. Additionally, 55% of global travellers will only travel to countries that have implemented vaccination programmes.
A continued focus on health and safety
This pent-up demand isn’t going unnoticed, with 62% of accommodation providers expecting to see an increase in interest for travel for 2021. Regardless, they continue to do their part to ensure travellers feel safe during their stay, with almost 70% having increased health and safety measures and improved cleaning processes.
Alongside increased measures from properties, travellers are willing to continue taking precautions during future trips, with 73% of travellers stating they would accept having to wear a face mask when travelling. Over half (64%) would go as far as supporting a ‘no-mask-no-travel’ ban (unless exempt). Two thirds (66%) would be willing to only travel in small groups of 2-6 people.
Helping the industry get back on its feet
Following the impact that the pandemic has had on the travel industry, 95% of travellers think the industry needs to be supported on its road to recovery, with two thirds (66%) believing that government financial stimuli are now needed to help travel’s revival. Regarding practical regulations, 72% state that wider access to pre-travel COVID-19 testing is needed, and 70% say that governments should collaborate with travel associations and providers to set more consistent standards.
When consumers are ready to travel once again, they want to help support the industry directly. In fact, 31% plan to choose less frequented destinations and 27% want to book independent accommodation or accommodation in or near their hometown to support local businesses (20%).
* Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who are planning to travel in the next 12 months. In total 28,042 respondents across 28 countries and territories were polled. Respondents completed an online survey in January 2021.
** Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of Booking.com accommodation partners. In total 3,491 respondents across 20 countries and territories were polled. Respondents completed an online survey in February 2021.
- New Booking.com research reveals the travel hopes and anticipation among people around the world following a year of restrictions
- Two thirds (66%) of global travellers feel more hopeful about travelling in 2021 thanks to news of successful COVID-19 vaccines
- 64% say travel is more important to them now than before the pandemic
- Six in ten (61%) feel confident that they’ll be able to hit the beach by summer 2021