For weeks now, domestic and international travel and tourism experts have been predicting a surge in summer and fall travel. Now that various reporting agencies have been able to analyze recent trends, it appears the experts were right.
– According to the TSA, June travel numbers are up anywhere between 200% and 500% from this time last year. Father’s Day weekend, for example, total domestic traveler throughput averaged around 2.1 million travelers, compared with 590,000 in 2020. Number still haven’t reached 2019 levels (2.7 million travelers for the same time period), but they continue to increase steadily as the weeks go on.
– Last-minute bookings became popular during COVID times because it gave people confidence to travel within a testing window and avoid the fear of cancellation fees. Now that almost all airlines, hotels, and other attractions offer more flexible terms regarding rescheduling and cancellations, advance purchases are coming back. Priceline.com reported that advance bookings are up 47% over 2020, often motivated by incentives and favorable pricing for early purchasers. Like overall travel, advance bookings are still below 2019 levels – and it means that smart packages and offers will be necessary to overcome hesitant travelers.
– Local Tourism is still a strong option. Besides the convenience of being able to stay close to home and not deal with the added steps of air travel, local venues give travelers greater peace of mind should plans change. 72% of Americans didn’t travel in a traditional sense last year, but 31% did take a “staycation.” Likewise, AirBNB reported bookings within 300 miles of a traveler’s home accounted for 60% of all bookings in May of 2020 – a trend that has continued through to 2021.
Though early, these trends are evidence that people are expanding their comfort zones and are ready to once again move about their worlds. Travel technologies, contactless payments, cleanliness guidelines, and social distancing initiatives have likely had a great deal of influence on traveler confidence. So, it’s still not quite time to discontinue them. However, with enhanced safety protocols and fewer reported cases, travel should resume pre-pandemic activity levels (with only a few exceptions) as 2021 and 2022 move ahead.
About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry. The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020. Most recently, Valerie Bihet, founder of the VIBE was named a Smart Women in Meetings 2021 Hall of Fame honoree by Smartmeetings, for her consistent work advancing the industry. If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!