Survey: North American Consumers Settling Into the New Normal

Drive-To Travel

Myrtle Beach, S.C. — Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Fuel has conducted a series of studies aimed at gaining insights into the consumer mindset and providing hoteliers with a benchmark for gauging recovery. Fuel recently fielded a third study of North American leisure travelers regarding their perceptions and fears related to travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

In launching the Fuel COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study Volume Three, Fuel sent out a survey on April 30, 2020, and received more than 10,000 responses. For this study installment, the data was broken down by age group (millennials, Gen-Xers, boomers), household income (less than $50,000, between $50-100,000, and greater than $100,000), and location.

In the third installment of Fuel’s COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study series, there were very few changes in results overall compared to the last survey, indicating that consumers are settling into the new normal.


“As it appears that the U.S. has started a slow recovery, there is still so much uncertainty surrounding timing and demand,” said Stuart Butler, chief operating officer of Fuel. “As an industry thought leader, we want to provide information about when consumers will feel comfortable traveling again so that hotels can develop more effective marketing campaigns.”

Insights from the study include:

  • Millennials consistently answered that they will be more willing to travel sooner than Gen X and boomers.
  • Distance and location matter. The data has been extremely consistent in showing that less densely populated locations and those within a few hours drive from home are more likely to be visited within the first three months of restrictions being lifted.
  • Hope is on the horizon. When asked for “one word to describe traveling now,” respondents provided more positive phrases than in previous studies, including, “ready,” “excited,” “freedom,” and “hopeful.”


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