Travel platform Tripadvisor®, has released the findings of a multi-month study that analysed consumer travel sentiment and first party behavioural data related to the ongoing pandemic. The report outlines a five-stage recovery for the travel and hospitality industry, inclusive of the period of decline created by the pandemic through the anticipated market recovery and the return of international travel.
The research paper, entitled “Beyond COVID-19: The Road to Recovery for the Travel Industry,” can be read in full, for free, here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Covid19WhitepaperMay2020.
This research paper also explores and identifies where the tourism and hospitality industry is on this road to recovery as well as 1) outlines the significant pent up demand that exists in the marketplace for travel and dining, 2) details the change in travel and dining behaviours resulting from the ongoing pandemic and 3) illustrates recent search and traffic patterns on Tripadvisor globally related to the crisis.
A snapshot of some key findings:
- New Zealand, Germany and Switzerland among first markets to enter the Emerge stage, with restaurant searches on Tripadvisor resurging strongly
- Consumer desire to travel remains resilient – around two in five (41%) consumers are optimistic that they will take the same or more trips than last year
- Shorter trips to destinations closer to home are a recurring theme, with nearly half (44%) of consumers saying they are more likely to take a road trip, and two thirds (61%) saying they are most comfortable taking a road trip for 3-5 days
- Consumers are 218% more likely to want to take a trip where they can relax compared to before the pandemic, and nearly two thirds (59%) would prefer to go somewhere off the beaten path
- Nature and beach destinations on the rise as Tripadvisor sees spike in North American traffic researching Campgrounds, Ranches and Beach Motels, while Myrtle Beach, San Diego and Key West are among the most popular domestic US destination searches in recent weeks
“We’re encouraged to see positive signs of recovery and are here to help our travellers and partners understand the pathway through this pandemic with clear insights and tangible data,” said Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer for Tripadvisor, Inc. “Our path to recovery will depend on the steps the industry takes to prepare for the road ahead – not just in terms of new standards and practices but also in how we collectively educate and engage consumers in a new, more thoughtful way of travelling.”
The five stages to recovery
The Tripadvisor in-house market research and insights teams have outlined five distinct stages of tourism impact and recovery:
- Decline – Travel declines sharply as widespread restrictions enforced
- Plateau – Sharp decline in bookings levels out, but travellers start dreaming their next trip
- Emerge – Easing of travel restrictions begins, early signs of recovery in dining sector
- Domestic Travel – Travellers book their first trips away, but stay close to home
- International Travel – Border restrictions ease, and international travel begins to rebound
An industry eager for actionable insights
Tripadvisor continues to leverage its research and insights to educate the tourism and hospitality industry and brands on how to appropriately attract more consumers as stay-at-home orders begin to lift globally. Media buyers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and tour operators alike can gain functional advice on how to best serve their customers’ needs in each stage of the recovery. Across the board, safety, flexibility and transparency are key to rebuilding traveller and diner confidence.
“We know the travellers and diners who engage on Tripadvisor are some of the most valuable, high intent consumers online today. Advertisers will benefit from the wealth of first party data during a time when more brands want to understand the right way to engage with consumers,” said Christine Maguire, vice president, global advertising revenue for Tripadvisor, Inc. “Brands can help consumers feel confident about travelling again by focusing on cleanliness and activities that are conducive to social distancing – while still maintaining a human connection with their audiences.”
“For hospitality businesses, today’s report offers plenty of reasons for cautious optimism. There are clear signs that many consumers have a strong desire to dine out and travel again when they are allowed to do so, but when they do they will bring a new set of expectations with them,” adds Martin Verdon-Roe, general manager of hospitality solutions, Tripadvisor. “Businesses that adapt quickly to embrace safety, flexibility and transparency will have a clear competitive advantage to communicate to consumers, and that could prove crucial in hastening their recovery.”