A new report released by Airbnb finds that travel is the activity Americans have missed most, with many ready to resume travel in 2021.
Specifically, the report finds that reconnecting with loved ones, friends and family, is what Americans miss most.
The findings indicate that travel in 2021 will take travel back to its roots of creating meaningful memories with those close to us through personal trips, as opposed to travel revolving around sightseeing and tourism.
The report further notes that mass tourism is unlikely to return at any scale this year. Discussing the findings of the report, Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO, Brien Chesky states:
“Once people feel safe to travel, they will. But it will look different than before the pandemic. Travel will be viewed as an antidote to isolation and disconnection. People don’t generally miss landmarks, crowded shuttles, and lines and lobbies packed with tourists. Mass travel is really just a different form of isolation—you are anonymous, herded around with other travelers, never really experiencing the people and culture of a community. What people want from travel now is what they’ve been deprived of—spending meaningful time with their family and friends.”
Americans Feeling Isolated
According to the data obtained from the report, the pandemic has caused Americans to feel isolated and lonely.
The following data from survey participants reveals:
53% feel less connected to extended family
53% feel less connected to friends
56% feel less connected to local community
58% feel less connected to fellow Americans
59% feel less connected to rest of the world
Nearly a quarter of Americans, 24%, report a feeling of either loneliness or emptiness.
Americans Miss Traveling
Just the thought of travel makes Americans feel happier and hopeful. The report finds that on a typical day, 42% feel happy and 45% feel hopeful.
When thinking about travel, those feeling happy increases by 18 percentage points, to 60%, and those feeling hopeful increases by 9 points, to 54%.
The feeling of Americans missing travel is further demonstrated by the number of Americans planning travel in 2021. According to the data, 54% have either already booked, are currently planning to travel, or expect to travel in 2021.
Travel Important for Connecting with Family
Traveling to connect with family and friends is top of mind for Americans. 41% of those surveyed indicate that connecting with family and friends will be much more important after the pandemic, versus 22% who feel travel to accomplish personal goals will be more important.
In addition, 52% of Americans reported they would rather disconnect from their phones and technology for travel to connect with those around them, opposed to 21% who would bring their phones with them to visit popular places and generate content for social media.
One in every two Americans surveyed state that immediate family will be the first they visit after the pandemic.
When asked to describe meaningful travel in their own words, nearly a third, 31%, defined it as ‘togetherness’.
37% of Americans indicate that the ability to connect with friends and family will be their top reason for getting vaccinated.
Airbnb acknowledges a shift in travel for connecting with loved ones, as they recorded all-time highs in percentage of bookings for families or groups of five or more in 2020.
56% prefer domestic or local destination, while 21% want to travel internationally. One in five want their destination to be within driving distance, while the majority of respondents (55%) are ‘extremely or very’ interested in taking a trip within driving distance.
25% are open to travel during off-peak times and vacationing longer, with 19% stating they have already rented a vacation home for a stay of more than 28 days.
Affordability is the top priority, at 54%, even more important than health and safety protocols, by ten percentage points.
More than one third (36%) expect to travel less for work, with only 6% reporting they miss business-related travel.
32% will want the vast majority of the population at a destination to be vaccinated to consider traveling there, 30% will want testing available at the destination, and 29% will require urgent care to be available.
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