Travel Confidence Starting to Trend Upward, According to MMGYby Daniel McCarthy /
MMGY released its latest Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) this week and, according to data from 1,200 respondents taken from May 29 to June 3, consumers are starting to feel slightly more comfortable about traveling over the next six months.
According to the survey, the likelihood of taking a domestic leisure trip during the next six months has increased slightly—with 40% of those surveyed submitting a 4 or 5 (on a 1-5 scale, 5 meaning “extremely likely” to travel), on the scale. An increase from the 36% reported on May 8, 38% on April 24, and 31% on April 11. The 40% figure represents the most significant increase MMGY has found since prior to March 27, when the TIPS survey began.
Those travelers surveyed said they were most likely to travel by personal car, which has been a common theme since COVID-19 started forcing travel lockdowns, by a more than 2-1 margin compared to a domestic flight (67% would travel by car, versus 32% by domestic flight). Consumers are also likely to prefer cars even over longer distances—with one in five of respondents said they are willing to drive more than 500 miles one-way on a leisure trip over the next six months.
And when consumers are taking those longer road trips for vacation, they are becoming more comfortable with staying in a hotel room—38% of those surveyed said they would be comfortable with staying in a hotel or resort, up from 31% on May 8, and 36% on April 24, and a significant difference over the 28% who said the same about vacation homes/condos.
International travel is still well behind domestic travel, as just 21% of those surveyed said they were likely to take an international flight over the next six months.
In terms of which segments are generating more confidence, MMGY’s survey found an increase for ocean cruises, river cruises, and group tours—interest in ocean cruises went up to 17% from 12% on both April 24 and May 8; interest in river cruise went up to 15% from 10% on May 8 and 12% on April 24; and interest in group tours went up to 14% from 12% on April 24 and May 8.
Interest in theme park travel has also increased as several theme parks on both coasts have reopened, or are in the process of doing so safely, however that number remains low. 18 percent of respondents said they are likely to visit a theme park over the next six months, compared to 15% on both April 24 and May 8.
The biggest factor still holding back those numbers is the spread of COVID-19. A majority of respondents to the survey (52%) cited the slowdown of COVID-19 in the U.S. and worldwide as the main factors impacting future travel decisions.
The survey also revealed that slowdown has had a much greater impact on prospective travelers' plans than great future travel deals (35%), concerns for their personal financial situation, (35%) and overall job security (30%).