Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Hope as most vaccinated people 'feel safe to travel'

Nearly a year after the pandemic onset, which hit the travel industry harder than most, there's reason to be optimistic. As more consumers are receiving the Covid-19 vaccine across the US, the perceived safety of leisure travel is on the rise, said a report.
As a result of the vaccine rollout in the US, the percentage of adults feeling safe staying in a hotel and flying has reached the highest levels since April 2020 at 46% and 34%, respectively, said a Deloitte report.
Six weeks after Covid-19 vaccine distribution began in the US, more than 50% of US adults expect to be fully vaccinated in the next six months, said the report. 
Of those already vaccinated, 70% feel safe staying in a hotel and 54% feel safe flying. More than half (53%) of those already vaccinated are likely to spend more on travel in the next four weeks, it said.
Why this matters
As a global health crisis morphed into an economic one, Deloitte has been conducting a series of weekly surveys, around the United States, to better understand the interplay between personal safety and economic vulnerability as a driver of purchase decisions and consumer behaviour. The most recent iteration (fielded Jan 22 to 27) of "Deloitte's Global State of the Consumer Tracker," queried at least 1,000 American consumers. As nearly 30 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US, the latest responses show improving travel intentions and increasing consumer activity, pointing to a gradual recovery in the travel sector.
Fifty-three percent of those already vaccinated are likely to spend more on travel in the next four weeks compared to 30% for the overall population, said the report.
Over the next three months, vaccinated consumers indicate that they are two times more likely to take a domestic flight and 1.7 times more likely to stay in a hotel than the rest.
These vaccinated consumers are also more likely to engage in activities such as renting a car (63%) and booking a private accommodation (61%).
"After being virtually homebound for the last year, the vaccine rollout is providing consumers with an increased sense of safety, meaning they are ready to get back on the road and in the air. Travel intentions across all categories have increased, which should be welcome news for restaurants, hoteliers, airlines and a host of other consumer and hospitality-focused businesses who have been preparing for this shift with increased safety measures to instill confidence for the long-term," said Ramya Murali, principal, Deloitte Consulting and US hospitality leader.
Travel spending intentions increase
While travel intentions and activity are starting to rise, consumers are still somewhat cautious and leisure travel plans may not fully return to pre-pandemic levels.
Post-pandemic 35% of consumers say they will eat out less at restaurants than they did prior to Covid-19. Similarly, 37% of consumers say they will fly less often than before the onset of the pandemic, and 36% will have fewer hotel stays.
Consumers also indicate that post-pandemic they expect to continue to work from home at a level six times higher than pre-pandemic levels (30% versus 5% in 2019).
However, near-term things are looking up; booking intentions are improving as we head into spring, with 38% expecting to stay in a hotel over the next three months (the highest percentage since the onset of the pandemic). Additionally, nearly one-third (30%) plan on taking a domestic flight in the next quarter, also a pandemic high.
"While this early-spring time period would usually be filled with spring break trips, many upcoming vacations have been cancelled, or are in doubt, because of the pandemic. However, consumers are beginning to look post-vaccination. With pent up travel demand, we expect that many consumers look forward to the ability to travel freely, and responsibly, once again," said  Anthony Jackson, principal, Deloitte & Touche and US airlines leader.
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world's most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500 and more than 7,000 private companies.  - TradeArabia News Service