How Are Travelers Planning for 2021 in Anticipation of a Vaccine?

With two potential vaccines on the horizon, consumers are eager to get back to travel. Here’s what they’re looking for in a stay next year.

We’re quickly approaching a critical window in the COVID timeline: two vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been announced as over 90% effective, but neither has been approved for distribution, and both face challenges that have consumers expecting they may not be widely available until April 2021—or later. But it’s not all bad news: with the vaccine on the horizon, consumers have turned their attention to day-dreaming about sunny escapes and post-pandemic vacations.

While things are expected to change dramatically and go back to some version of normal next year, guests remain cautious as they plan their 2021 travel. Here are a few key stats that show what the consumer mindset looks like right now:

95% spent time “looking for vacation inspiration” during lockdown.

If there’s one thing that’s certain for 2021, it’s that demand for travel remains strong and will come surging back once consumers feel safe again. During the pandemic, excursions within driving distance have been the most popular option for travelers looking for a change of scenery. But as soon as a vaccine becomes widely available, consumers have indicated they’ll be eager to take longer and further trips, significantly boosting markets that rely on high tourist volumes.

84% of travelers say technology would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12 months by addressing concerns around mixing with crowds, social distancing and physical touchpoints.

If you thought contactless experiences would evaporate after a vaccine, think again. Guests have become used to transactions that don’t include physical touchpoints. Until the vaccine reaches high adoption rates, travelers will remain cautious about their face-to-face interactions with others. And in the future, consumers are likely to choose contactless options during flu season or when they themselves are feeling under the weather. It’s expected to become a normal part of life for many consumers.

63% say they want hotels to use “the latest tech” to ensure safety.

Between new cleaning technology and digital amenities, guests truly feel that technology will play a key role in safety. And what is it they mean by “the latest tech”? A few things come to mind: mobile check-in and mobile key, hotel apps that facilitate guest-staff communication outside of face-to-face interaction, digital dining, and contactless payments come to mind. Essentially, whatever they can do to stay separate from others and enjoy a safe stay—without compromising service.

42% of travelers cite contactless and mobile payment options such as Google Pay, PayPal and Venmo as key to reducing incidences of physical contact throughout the journey.

It’s regularly been at the top of consumer wishlists through COVID, so it’s no surprise that contactless payments will remain important to travelers as we enter 2021. Adoption has always been the barrier to contactless payments becoming routine—and during the pandemic, adoption rates skyrocketed. Now, it’s about both safety and convenience: not having to touch money or exchange a card is both cleaner and easier for consumers who are more than happy to just tap their phone during a transaction.

Find out how your property or brand can leverage technology to not only offer safe 2021 travel experiences, but also a streamlined stay with self-service options. Request a demo of the INTELITY platform now.

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Sources:
Booking.com Reveals Five Predictions for the Future of Travel
Rethink Travel Global Survey US Insights 2020

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