Over the past year, the whole world has made efforts to create initiatives to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and find solutions to safely resume travel. One of the solutions that is expected to bring positive impacts is the global vaccination rollout.
Last June, Tripadvisor released its ‘A Shot in The Arm for Travel?’ report with insights about the travel planning and booking behavior of vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. From there, it can be seen how the vaccination rollouts in the world are affecting tourists’ intentions to travel. The report ‘A Shot in The Arm for Travel?’ was conducted with more than 2,400 travelers in 6 markets, including the US, UK, Australia, Italy, Singapore and Japan.
Overall, global travelers started feeling more confident to plan their trip this year, with 30% of travelers feeling ‘more determined than ever to travel this year’ and more than 37% agreeing that ‘I want to travel as much as I did before’. The remaining 33% feel ‘more cautious about traveling this year’. However, these rates vary across regions. American travelers are the most confident with about 45% of travelers feeling ‘more determined than ever to travel this year’. In some countries like Singapore and Australia, this percentage is about 30% – 35%. In Japan, up to 50% of tourists are still ‘more cautious about traveling this year’ and very few travelers feel confident to travel.
Vaccinations have positive effects on travelers’ attitudes and confidence towards tourism
According to the Tripadvisor survey, the signs of tourism recovery through the planning and booking survey are most evident in countries that have implemented a national vaccination program, such as the UK and the US with national vaccine distribution rates and hotel search traffic have increased proportionally. According to Tripadvisor’s consumer sentiment analysis, travelers who have had at least one dose of the vaccine have planned to book in advance or booked at least one trip this year.
For domestic tourism, 47% of vaccinated travelers plan to book at least one trip this year. This figure for the unvaccinated group of tourists is 51%. However, for travelers who booked at least a trip, 32% are vaccinated travelers and only 19% are unvaccinated travelers.
For international trips, the confidence of vaccinated travelers is also more evident. 34% of vaccinated travelers plan to book at least one international trip this year, and 25% for unvaccinated travelers. 21% of vaccinated travelers have booked an international trip, while for unvaccinated travelers this rate is only 5%. Thereby, it can be seen that vaccinated travelers are more willing to travel than unvaccinated travelers, especially for international trips.
The US, which has implemented a rapid national vaccination program, is also the market with the most optimistic traveler sentiment. 45% of vaccinated travelers in the US booked a domestic trip and 25% booked an international trip. Meanwhile, this figure in Japan is only 3%.
According to the survey, the correlation between vaccination rates and travelers’ confidence is quite close. Among travelers who had been vaccinated and booked a domestic trip this year, 80% cited vaccines as a factor in their booking decisions. For travelers who booked an international trip, vaccines were the deciding factor of 91% of vaccinated travelers. Meanwhile, 48% of unvaccinated travelers who are planning to book a domestic trip said that they were waiting to receive at least one dose before booking a trip.
Besides, travelers still depend on when global travel restrictions are relaxed or lifted when choosing international destinations. In the short term, most travelers choose domestic trips for certainty over international trips. According to hotel search data for summer travel recorded in the first week of May, domestic trips made up the majority with 75% of searches for trips in June, 67% of trips in July and 62% of trips in August. However, for trips scheduled for the end of the year, the data shows that searches for international hotels are starting to take the majority of trips scheduled to depart from November 2021 onwards.
Destination and experiences selection
Looking at the experience search data of travelers across 6 markets, it can be seen the trend of choosing experience activities for their next trips. The majority are Nature & Parks attractions with 31.2% of searches, 25.6% of searches for Sights & Landmarks and 9.4% of searches for Shopping.
According to a survey in November 2020 by Tripadvisor, the trend of looking for less crowded destinations emerged, but as vaccinations begin to be widely rolled out, data in May 2021 shows a trend of choosing city destinations has begun to increase again, especially for vaccinated travelers.
Of the travelers who have had at least one dose, 41% feel more confident to dine indoors, 25% feel more confident to visit museums, and 23% feel more confident to visit theme parks. This shows that vaccination has a certain impact on tourists’ confidence when choosing to experience indoor activities.
Destination selections also differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Among the three most popular destination types, outdoor/nature, beach and city, 32% of vaccinated travelers said they felt more confident when visiting urban centers. Meanwhile, only 24% of unvaccinated tourists choose this type of destination. Open destination options such as outdoor/nature (25%) and beach (28%) were more chosen by unvaccinated travelers than vaccinated travelers (20% – outdoor/nature and 26% – beach).
Besides, there is a difference between the two groups of tourists.
26% of travelers interviewed plan to spend more than before the pandemic on their next trip, and only 9% plan to spend less. In which, 35% of vaccinated travelers want to spend more, and this proportion accounts for 20% of unvaccinated travelers. The US (40%) and Singapore (31%) are the two markets with the highest percentage of travelers planning to spend more. The two lowest markets are Italy (17%) and Japan (20%).
It can be seen that, as vaccination is deployed more widely in many countries around the world, travelers’ confidence also increases, creating some changes in planning and booking behaviors. Hotels, destinations, and tour operators can base on changes in the selections of destinations, experiences as well as the spending ability of travelers to prepare appropriate marketing plans and products to better attract and capture the needs of travelers.