SEATTLE — Summer travel inarguably looks different this summer, and the latest report from Expedia.com sheds light on the emerging priorities and behaviors of Americans looking to get away. Leveraging search and demand data and a national poll of more than 1,000 Americans, the Expedia 2020 Summer Travel Report found that 85 percent of U.S. travelers are likely to take a road trip this summer. Interest in domestic summer stays is up 10 percent year-on-year, making up nearly 85 percent of hotel searches overall in June. The report also found that demand for staycations is on the rise, health and safety have become more important than price, and flexibility in bookings is key.
Read about four trends from the Expedia 2020 Summer Travel Report below.
1Summer Travelers Staying Closer to Home
Traveling within the United States is always a popular option for Americans, but international travel restrictions coupled with health and safety uncertainty has led to a 10 percent increase in domestic summer travel searches, according to data from Expedia.com.1 Nearly 85 percent of hotel searches on the site in June were for accommodations located within the United States, and about a quarter of June bookings were for same-state stays—a slight increase from last year.
“While the desire to get away is still going strong for many of us, how and where we’re choosing to go this summer looks different,” said Nisreene Atassi, senior director of PR and social for Expedia.com. “Beaches and national parks remain popular, but more Americans are choosing destinations that are closer to home and drivable, versus going somewhere more exotic.
2More Last Minute Getaways
Last-minute getaways are also on the rise, with more travelers booking trips the same day or within seven days this summer than in previous years.
“Interestingly, we’ve seen that travelers are making these plans at the last minute,” Atassi added. “Things are so unpredictable right now with COVID-19, so it’s possible that travelers feel more comfortable making travel plans for the near future vs. planning too far ahead.”
3Road Trips Seen as the Safest Route
According to a recent survey of 1,000 Americans commissioned by Expedia2, 85 percent reported that they’re planning or likely to go on a road trip this summer, driven primarily by the need for a change of scenery (43 percent) and the desire to enjoy the outdoors (36 percent).
As travelers venture away from home and destinations open back up to tourism, health and safety takes priority over price when trip-planning; 72 percent of survey respondents said they’re opting for a road trip this summer because it feels safer than flying, and more people listed health and safety (72 percent) and avoiding crowds (68 percent) as top concerns over budget (60 percent).
In response to these concerns, the industry is rolling out new sanitation measures to help minimize risks, which Expedia has begun displaying on its site. Travelers can also message their hotel or vacation rental from the Expedia mobile app and ask for more info on their policies, request special arrangements, or check whether certain amenities like the pool or spa are going to be open.
With so much uncertainty impacting vacation plans this year, many travelers are opting for plans that can be easily adjusted, canceled, or rescheduled. Expedia data shows 97 percent of hotel stays booked in June were refundable rates, a 20 percent increase from the year prior1.
Expedia is allowing travelers to filter for hotels that offer free cancellation and airlines that are waiving any change fees for future bookings. “People often choose non-refundable rates because they’re generally cheaper, but with so many destinations eager to welcome back tourists it’s more realistic than ever to find a great value without having to sacrifice flexibility,” said Atassi.
1 Data based on interest or demand on Expedia.com during June 2020 for travel between June 1 and September 7, 2020, compared to the same time periods in 2019.
2 Survey commissioned by Expedia and conducted by Survey Monkey, polling 1,077 respondents over 18 years old in the United States.