Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global, a global travel, tourism, and hospitality marketing company, recently shared predictions for the year ahead, including the rise of “vaxications”—a term MMGY Global has coined to describe the anticipated rush of vacations people will take to celebrate they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
1The Rise of Vaxications
Pent-up demand for travel and the promise of vaccines by this summer for the general public may result in a rush of “vaxication” bookings mid-way through the year, according to Reid. These are trips people may book in anticipation of being vaccinated and/or take as soon as they’ve received their vaccination, coinciding with the lifting of many travel restrictions.
2Proof of Vaccination
Proof of vaccination may be required in some cases to board planes, visit international destinations, or attend special events and business conferences, Reid noted. According to MMGY Global’s recent research, half of American travelers say they will get the vaccine as soon as possible, 40 percent will wait to see if it’s effective, and 9 percent say they won’t get the vaccine.
Road trips became the most popular form of domestic travel in 2020, with mountain and beach resorts as the top destinations. Reid anticipates this trend to continue as the combination of the ease and safety of car travel and the ability to socially distance outdoors will align with travelers’ comfort levels.
4Air Travel Will Take Off in Q2
Reid said the industry should anticipate that airplanes will be kept on the ground into Q1 2021 to help strengthen fares and keep costs reduced, with a focus on smaller route maps, non-traditional service patterns, and leisure-driven operations until commercial demand returns. He also expects intent to pick-up dramatically in Q2 and international traffic to outperform domestic recovery, on a relative basis, once the business community sees normalcy.
5Lodging Looks Promising
Early recovery has already started for leisure resorts in mountain and beach locations, and pockets of economy lodging have exceeded 50 percent occupancy. Shared accommodations and rentals have also strengthened their market share position. City center and large group hotels will face a slower road to recovery, Reid noted.
6Bullish on Business Travel
According to MMGY Global’s December data, 57 percent of business travelers intend to take a trip in the next six months, and Reid said comments made by the heads of major corporations suggest there is a strong desire to get back to in-person work.
7Travel With Purpose
Travelers will seek more purpose-led tour packages to destinations not traditionally in the rotation, such as the Arctic, small Mediterranean & Asian islands, and off-the-beaten-path wildlife locales.