This week, MMGY Travel Intelligence released Wave 8 of its Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS), which monitors the impact of COVID-19 on the travel intentions of American adults.
The survey, which took a random sample of 1,200 respondents from adults 18-year-old or older who have taken at least one overnight trip over the past year, gauged travel sentiment between Aug. 21 and 31, and found some steadily improving trends that are encouraging for the travel industry.
According to the survey, 42% of respondents say that they are at least somewhat likely to take a leisure trip during the next six months, the highest since MMGY started doing the survey in March. That number was the lowest during the week of April 11, when only 31% of respondents said they’d do so.
Even the likelihood of taking a business trip has increased—the percentage of travelers who said they’d take a domestic business trip was at 35% in Wave 8, higher than the 31% last month, and the percentage who said they’d take an international business trip over the next six months increased, the first increase MMGY found over the past three months.
Most of those leisure respondents in the 42% are still thinking about traveling by car—75% indicate they plan to do so—and 34% said they are willing to drive 300 miles or more each way for a leisure trip.
In terms of which segments are improving, the survey found that interest theme parks, beaches, and other parks (local, state, and national) have increased steadily since March; that the likelihood of staying in hotels, resorts, and vacation homes have remained flat; and that cruise interest still lags behind other travel activities.
The biggest concern among travelers remains COVID-19, and while some of the survey results found that travelers are becoming more comfortable with the new normal, the percentage of travelers who said they were “very concerned” through “not concerned at all” remained consistent since March.
According to the survey, which asked respondents to rank their concern with COVID-19 on a scale of 1 through 5, 31% ranked themselves at a 5 (“extremely concerned”). Twenty-nine percent ranked themselves at 4, 23% at a 3, 14% at 2, and 9% at a 1. Three in five respondents also remain concerned about spreading COVID-19 to a member of their household.
In terms of what is going to encourage people to start traveling, the survey found that the biggest concern was slowing the spread of COVID-19 (51%), but also that great travel deals was trending higher now than last month—33% said that it was the likely to impact their decision to travel now, compared to 30% last month.