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Momentive study: travel attitudes and COVID-19

Momentive study: travel attitudes and COVID-19

Virtually every industry in the world has been impacted in some way by COVID-19, but perhaps none have undergone such wild swings as the travel industry, according to a new study from Momentive. Understanding if and how consumer travel behavior has changed will be vital as a major global industry reckons with how to adapt and attract customers.

Key findings:

  • Just over half of adults in the U.S. who are vaccinated have booked travel in the last year and a half 
  • Vacation bookings are down slightly in recent months: 38% of those who booked travel did so 1-3 months ago compared to 29% who have in the last month or less
  • 71% of Americans have formed some sort of new travel habit during the pandemic and of those, some are making their new habits permanent:
    • 35% are planning to spend less money on vacations
    • 28% will be traveling more locally
    • 20% will only travel by car for vacations
  • 62% of Americans say they are “more concerned” about traveling due to the Delta variant

Vaccinations unlocked travel for those who got the shot

  • Half of those who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 (51%) say they’ve booked travel in the last year and a half, while just 39% of those who haven’t been vaccinated say they’ve booked travel in the same time period, according to a new Momentive study fielded August 20-21, 2021 
  • A large number of people who have been vaccinated say they are more concerned (71%) about traveling because of the Delta variant, fully 25 points higher than those who are not vaccinated---only 46% of those who have not gotten a jab say the Delta variant concerns them, split with the 45% who say it has no effect on their concern
  • Those who are unvaccinated are almost twice as likely as those who are vaccinated (40% vs. 24%) to say their travel habits haven’t changed in any major way due to COVID-19. 

How COVID-19 has impacted the future of travel 

Planning vacations: Nearly half (46%) of all adults in the U.S. have booked travel or accommodations during the pandemic, with two-thirds (66%) having booked within the last three months.

  • The younger age cohort of 18-34 are the most likely to have booked travel during the pandemic (58%), opposed to those who are over the age of 65, the least likely age group to have booked any sort of travel or accommodations (27%).
  • The peak of booking travel among respondents who have made travel reservations during the pandemic was 1-3 months ago (38%), in this last month or less, 29% have booked travel, while only 18% booked travel 4-6 months ago, and 16% more than 6 months ago
  • 35% of Millennials who have booked travel did so less than a month ago, by far the highest among any age group

Travel concerns rise with the emergence of the Delta variant

  • 62% of Americans say they are “more concerned” about traveling due to the Delta variant
  • 35% of respondents are not taking trips because of the Delta variant. Health risks overall and lack of COVID-19 restrictions are a concern for 23% and 22% of Americans. Financial reasons are also a big factor for nearly a quarter (24%) of people to not take a trip
  • Among those who have booked travel less than a month ago, 66% are more concerned about the emergence of the Delta variant, which is more than those who have booked travel farther out in the past (58% 1-3 months ago, 55% 4-6 months ago) 

Travel habits of spending less on vacations and staying more local because of pandemic, are becoming permanent for some

  • 71% of Americans have formed some sort of new travel habit during the pandemic and of those who have, some are making their new habits permanent:
    • 35% are planning to spend less money on vacations
    • 28% will be traveling more locally
    • 20% will only travel by car for vacations
  • 34% say they travel more locally now because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 53% say one of their biggest realizations during the pandemic is that they can enjoy just being home and traveling locally 
  • 39% of those who say they have not booked any travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, want to make local travel a permanent habit
  • 72% of travelers were booking hotels and vacation rentals 1-3 months ago. That number has dropped to 61% for those who say their most recently booked travel was less than a month ago. Rental car bookings have also dropped from 26% 1-3 months ago to 20% less than a month ago.
  • Going on a cruise is considered to be the riskiest travel activity: 51% of people rank it top two in terms of risk of contracting COVID-19, followed by air travel (39%) and public transportation (38%). Road trips are perceived to be the least risky travel activity, with 21% of people ranking them as their first or second choice.

Read more about our polling methodology here
Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: