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Over the last few weeks, I’ve written extensively about upcoming travel trends. As bad as 2020 has been so far, everyone is now looking at what lies ahead for travel for the rest of 2020. However, we’re seeing a second wave which is delaying reopening plans in many countries around the world. I’m always on the lookout for new data which could signal any vital travel trends for the rest of the year.

U.S Travel Forecast 2020

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) released some polling that tracked Americans’ preference and intent to travel during the rest of the year. Here are some key takeaways from the polling. You can read the entire report here.

  • Out of those who intend to travel, 59% expect that they’ll take their first overnight trip by the end of this summer. Road trips will account for a major chunk of these trips
  • When asked about where they’d stay at, 43% respondents plan to stay with family and friends, compared to 39% who would stay at a hotel
  • Trips over the long weekends will signal a return to travel for many Americans, with almost 80% of respondents planning a trip of four days or less
  • When asked about the reason for travel, respondents cited family events (weddings, birthdays, etc) and long weekends (Thanksgiving, Christmas) as occasions for planning travel
  • 30% of respondents were either ‘not very likely’ or ‘not likely at all’ to book a hotel stay in the next 6 months. Only 30% of respondents said that they plan to travel on Labor Day weekend, but for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the number jumped to 43% and 50% respectively
  • What’s surprising is that when asked about mode of travel, 49% showed interest in air travel. The number dropped to 38% for cruises, but jumped to 71% for hotels
  • The study also judged the comfort level of respondents with different modes of travel. Only 35% respondents were comfortable traveling aboard a cruise ship. The same number jumped to 73% for hotels. However, 86% of respondents expressed that they’d be comfortable staying at a house with family or friends
  • When asked about future travel plans, 42% of respondents said that they don’t intend to take an overnight vacation by pane over the next 6 months or so. The same number jumped to 61% for cruises but dropped to 16% for hotels


The Pundit’s Mantra

The data seems pretty consistent with some of the latest numbers that we’ve seen. A few days back, I wrote about how travel isn’t coming back to normal any time soon. These numbers only point to to the fact that recovery is going to be a lot slower. It could pan out well into 2022 before we see signs of normalcy.

Also, the data points out that travel in 2020 could well be more local in nature. Shorter road trips that range anywhere between 3-5 days. Travelers will largely prefer to stay with with family or friends or book a hotel or AirBnB. Lower gas prices could continue to be a significant driver for road trips as the preferred mode of travel for the rest of 2020.

Also, please note that the data only signals travelers’ intent and doesn’t reflect actual travel plans. If the situation with Covid-19 and the economic crisis gets worse, we could well see these numbers drop.

Where and how do you intend to travel during your next vacation? Tell us in the comments section.


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