I don’t think that travel will recover for some time, but there’s still some interesting data on this that really surprised me.
International travel is going to be especially challenging. Domestic travel should come back somewhat first. However,
- Many countries will remain locked down past when they have a handle on the virus, concerned about it coming back in.
- Travel procedures may be more cumbersome scaring passengers away, who may have fears anyway
- Companies will push off international travel until next year
- International leisure travel usually has a longer planning horizon than domestic travel, we’ll be too late for the summer peak season.
[A]n analysis of flight searches done in several countries during Mar-2020, when most of the population has been in quarantine..reveals that they are still researching foreign travel and, furthermore, that they have a disproportionate interest in long haul travel in the third and fourth quarters of the year.
People still have a sentiment to travel and industry know needs to tap into this travel market and convert them to a future booker. Its data shows similar trends for Italy, Greece and Spain. People may be in a strict lockdown, but they are still searching for trips overseas.
…This year in March it shows they that they were looking at making trips in third or fourth quarters instead.
An interesting data point is travel searches from within Italy which was ahead of the U.S. and much of Europe with a viral outbreak. In March, while they were in the midst of the pandemic travel searches were down substantially for trips April – June but were actually up for July – September trips and nearly double 2019 volume for October – December. That could suggest,
- That people won’t travel less overall, just push their travel back in the year
- That people remained hopeful about a quick recovery and end to lockdown
- That travel remains inspirational and something people hold onto during the worst of times
It would be one thing if people had stopped searching travel altogether. They didn’t. And their travel searches for trips six to nine months out actually shot up.