Charting the trends – global vaccine rollouts will spur the return of travel & health and hygiene expectations continue to evolve

Charting the trends – global vaccine rollouts will spur the return of travel & health and hygiene expectations continue to evolve

CTC 13 May 2021 – “Traveller behaviours and preferences have evolved significantly over the past year, meaning travel brands can no longer rely on historical marketing strategies to inform their recovery plans,” said Wendy Olson Killion, senior vice president, media solutions at Expedia Group in its inaugural quarterly trend report for travel recovery.

On the outside, the post-COVID world may not physically look any different from the one that entered the pandemic over a year ago, but the biggest health crisis of modern times has left an indelible mark on how we will look to book, travel and how and where we will do business.

“We know people are eager to start travelling again, but how they engage with travel brands, and what they expect, has changed,” highlights Ms Olson Killion. This new report spotlights some of the latest trends with data positively indicating traveller confidence is growing.

The ‘Q1 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report‘ features data from custom research and Expedia Group first-party data combined and makes five key observations that global vaccine rollouts will spur the return of travel, global search windows stay short, domestic travel remains in favour, longer trip durations dominate and health and hygiene expectations continue to evolve, but are not such a priority.

The start of 2021 may not have marked a miracle, but it saw travel turn a corner with monthly search volumes showing strong growth throughout 1Q, according to Expedia data, with a clear correlation between the increase in searches and traveller demand and growing momentum for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and travel guidelines.

As one of the countries leading vaccine rollouts data on US search trends provides a good example of this. The report highlights that in week-over-week searches, the week of 15-Mar-2021 saw the largest spike in searches – an increase of +30% – following the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) release of guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals.

But uncertainty abounds and that means that the global search window remains short. Continuing a trend seen throughout much of last year, the majority of global 1Q 2021 searches fell within the 0 to 21 days search window, according to the report, as uncertainty around global travel saw travellers opt for more opportunistic, short-term trips, often close to home.