Consumer Perception of Travel Safety Improves as Vaccines Roll Out, COVID Cases Decline


NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —

Key takeaways

  • Six weeks after COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the U.S., more than 50% of U.S. adults expect to be fully vaccinated in the next six months.
  • As a result of the vaccine rollout, the percentage of U.S. adults feeling safe staying in a hotel and flying reach highest levels since April 2019 at 46% and 34%, respectively.
  • 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.

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 behavior. 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 U.S., the latest responses show improving travel intentions and increasing consumer activity, pointing to a gradual recovery in the travel sector.

With stronger safety perceptions, net spending intent on travel reaches pandemic high mark
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 U.S., the perceived safety of leisure travel is on the rise.

  • 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.
  • 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%).

Key quote
“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.”

Ramya Murali, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and U.S. hospitality leader

Travel spending intentions increase, but may not return to pre-pandemic levels
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.

Key quote
“While this early-spring time period would usually be filled with spring break trips, many upcoming vacations have been canceled, 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.”

– Anthony Jackson, principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP and U.S. airlines leader   

Connect with us on Twitter @DeloitteCB or on LinkedIn @RamyaMurali and @AnthonyJackson.

About Deloitte
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. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Now celebrating 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 330,000 people worldwide connect for impact at www.deloitte.com.

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