KANSAS CITY, Mo. — MMGY Global has been tracking the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. traveler sentiment and behaviors since March and has some encouraging news for the travel industry heading into the holiday season. The latest findings from MMGY Travel Intelligence’s Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) and MMGY Global’s Travel Safety Barometer show increasing confidence in the safety of domestic and international travel, cruising, dining and entertainment, business travel, and lodging.
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Domestic Travel Safety Barometer score rose above 50, indicating travelers are increasingly confident about the idea of traveling. The Barometer, which measures perceptions of safety on a scale of 0 (extremely unsafe) to 100 (extremely safe), rose to 52, which is 22 points higher than it was in April. Wave IX of the TIPS survey, conducted in late September, also found that 46 percent of respondents said they are likely to take a domestic leisure trip in the next six months.
The International Travel Safety Barometer surged upward as well, increasing 6 points to 38 in October. Twenty-five percent of TIPS respondents said they are likely to take an international leisure trip during the next six months, up from 18 percent in Wave VIII.
After months of stagnation, the October Business Travel Safety Barometer displayed promising signs of recovery, increasing from 38 to 41—a 12-point increase from the May score. The news is slightly better for conference and convention planners as well. The Travel Safety Barometer score for attending a conference or convention jumped from 30 in September to 35 in October, a 16 percent spike.
The TIPS survey also found travelers to be more assured about participating in all forms of dining and entertainment activities. Outdoor travel experiences continue to be perceived as safer than indoor experiences, with travelers feeling safest going to a state/national park and to the beach. These activities’ respective Barometer scores hit record highs in October.
In addition, the TIPS survey has found that the availability of a vaccine would have the greatest impact on respondents’ decisions about future travel. However, consent to receiving the vaccine remains problematic. Half of respondents (49 percent) would wait at least a few months to get it, while 11 percent state they would not consent to being vaccinated at all.
MMGY Travel Intelligence’s Travel Intentions Pulse Survey is conducted monthly among 1,200 U.S. residents who have taken an overnight trip for either business or leisure in the past 12 months. Wave IX of the survey was conducted Sept. 21–28, 2020, and Wave VIII was conducted August 21–31, 2020. MMGY Global’s Travel Safety Barometer is culled monthly from the Travel Intentions Pulse Survey.