It looks like there is good news in the pipeline for businesses in the hospitality and tourist sector. Research shows that more than half (56%) of Americans are likely to travel for a vacation in 2021.
A survey, conducted by Morning Consult, shows optimism is aplenty among US travelers. The survey was commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and interviewed 2,200 adults in the United States.
American Travel Plans in 2021 Favor Tourism Businesses
The report asked consumers how comfortable they feel about using hotels. It found that 34% of participants say they already feel comfortable staying in a hotel. 48% say their levels of reassurance rely on the distribution of the vaccine. 36% say they expect to travel more for leisure in 2021 compared to last year.
The findings of the research are important for those operating leisure, tourism, and hospitality businesses. 2020 was an especially difficult year for the hospitality industry with forced closures bringing the sector a standstill.
Knowing that consumers are optimistic about travel plans in 2021 will bring hope to many small businesses in the industry. Asides optimism, having knowledge about travelers’ plans will also help businesses plan for future months. Such planning should include implementing health and safety measures that are not only mandatory but are what consumers crave. Businesses should also be aware of the government support available to them to help navigate these testing times.
Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA, commented on the issues still facing hospitality and travel and why businesses need to plan ahead.
“While consumers are optimistic about traveling in 2021 after nearly a year of self-distancing measures, we continue to face record devastation. Covid-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth,” said Rogers.
“In the next Covid-19 relief package, the hotel industry needs support from Congress and the Administration that will ultimately help small business hoteliers keep their doors open, and bring more employees back to work. Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry, hotels across the country are focused on creating an environment ready for guests when travel begins to return,” he added.
Importance of Vaccination Rollout
Travel plans among leisure travelers is largely dependent on the roll-out of the vaccine. 11% of those surveyed said they will feel comfortable staying in a hotel when vaccines are available to the general public. 20% say they want a majority of Americans to be vaccinated before they are willing to travel. 17% say they will only travel once they have been personally vaccinated.
Cleanliness is a Leading Priority Among Consumers
Leisure travel is expected to start increasing in Q2 and Q3 of 2021. To prepare for the estimated rise in demand for leisure travel, businesses like hotels, should prepare their establishments to meet consumer demands. For example, a separate survey conducted by Ecolab in December 2020, found that 62% of consumers placed overall cleanliness as their top choice factor when staying at a hotel. 52% of hotel guests say that enhanced cleaning regimes will make them feel more comfortable when staying a hotel.
The main takeaway from the research is that whilst many are optimistic about travel plans this year, hospitality businesses should take heed of consumer demands and prepare accordingly. Ramping up cleanliness regimes would be a wise and necessary move to meet health and safety requirements and ensure guests feel comfortable as the industry starts to pick up.