The travel industry is pinning its hopes of recovery on an innate desire to travel and pent-up demand.
New research from Tripadvisor shows 65% of consumers are thinking about their next destination.
However, consumers are looking for different kinds of trips, with almost two-thirds looking to avoid crowded places and 52% more likely to take an outdoor trip than before the pandemic.
The Tripadvisor "A Year in Travel" research, carried out in partnership with Phocuswright, reveals that between May and September, outdoor activities, nature and parks accounted for 34% of all attraction page views, compared to 25% in 2019.
Rest and relaxation is also a priority, with 54% of respondents to an October survey saying they wanted somewhere to rejuvenate and 47% want to enjoy nature.
The trend is supported in choice of accommodation with hotel searches on Tripadvisor revealing quicker than average recovery for properties in the "quaint" or "romantic" categories while properties deemed to be "centrally located" are recovery at a slower rate than the average.
Concerns around health and safety are a key factor in accommodation choice, the survey of six different markets in October reveals. Two-thirds consider safety and cleanliness of properties as important when traveling locally.
In addition, 63% of respondents say they’re more likely look at a health and safety measures when they choose a hotel.
Tripadvisor also says that businesses that use its free Travel Safe tool, which highlights health and safety information, saw a 16% increase in user engagement with their listings.
The research also shows how fragile consumer confidence in traveling is although it depends on the market with 48% of U.S. respondent saying they feel more confident of travel’s safety in the next three months compared to the previous three.
Confidence to travel was the lowest from respondents in Italy at 12%.
For those that are keen to travel, last minute trips are popular, although it goes hand-in-hand with greater planning.
The advanced planning window, the days between a trip being planned and departure, has shortened.
Last month, 62% of travelers looking for accommodation on Tripadvisor were planning to check-in less than 30 days out, compared to 51% for the same period in 2019.
In addition, 69% say they will research their next trip more than they have in the past.
Steve Kaufer, president and CEO, Tripadvisor says: “Looking ahead to 2021, a myriad of unknowns remains. Promising news of an effective vaccine is wonderful for our industry, but until it becomes widely available to the public, it remains difficult to predict what this alone will mean for travel demand in the short-term. Nor can the industry rely on traditional models of seasonality to predict demand in the meantime.
“Instead, a deeper understanding of the shifts in traveler demand since the start of the pandemic is required.”
He will present the full results during an Executive Interview at the Phocuswright Conference this week.
Tripadvisor used first party traffic data to gauge accommodation demand while survey data is drawn from its Consumer Sentiment Survey, which is conducted about every two weeks from the end of March to the third week of October in six markets, with up to 2,400 respondents per survey.
The full report is available here.