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Booking.com reveals travelers' optimism is rising as vaccines fuel hope

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New Booking.com research reveals the travel hopes and anticipation among people around the world, following a year of restrictions

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 programs globally, travelers are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and consumer confidence is rising. 

Despite knowing the road to recovery is still long, two thirds of global travelers (66%) feel more hopeful about traveling in 2021 due to the roll-out of vaccines. The same number of global travelers (66%) state that not being able to travel extensively in 2020 has made them crave travel even more in 2021. 

Post-pandemic priorities

According to 64% of respondents, travel is more important now than it was before the pandemic. So much so that 71% of travelers would even go so far as to state that they’d rather go on a vacation in 2021 than find true love. Additionally, 66% would prioritize traveling over success at work, preferring to go on vacation over getting promoted. 

Additionally, over half (53%) of all travelers 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 for longer vacations in 2021. Beach vacations 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 traveler confidence. Over half (59%) of global travelers say they won’t travel internationally until they’ve been vaccinated, which rises to 68% among those 55+ years old. Additionally, 55% of global travelers will only travel to countries that have implemented vaccination programs. 

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Six in ten (61%) global travellers feel confident that they’ll be able to hit the beach by summer 2021.

 

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 travelers feel safe during their stays, with almost 70% having increased health and safety measures and improved cleaning processes. 

Alongside increased measures from properties, travelers are willing to continue taking precautions during future trips, with 73% of travelers stating they would accept having to wear a face mask when traveling. 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 travelers 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 revive travel. 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 again, they want to help support the industry directly. In fact, 31% plan to choose less frequented destinations and 27% want to book independent accommodations or accommodations 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.

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Takeaway
  • 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 travelers feel more hopeful about traveling 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