Travel After COVID Lockdown: Local Is the New Normal

How Travel Trends Have Shifted to Local Destinations

Forensic & Litigation Consulting

September 1, 2020


Travel is part of our consultants’ lives. We serve our clients in different cities, states and countries from where we live. Our friends and families are used to us hitting the road for weeks at a time. Some of our consultants look forward to travel time as their “own” time (i.e., fewer interruptions from 30,000 feet).

When the current health crisis forced society to close and grounded planes across the world, it reshaped our work schedules and our longest travel ended up being our commute to our own home office spaces.

As some statewide lockdown measures begin to ease, travel is certainly on our minds after months of being confined to our homes. How is America gearing up for travel in a changed environment? Diving into multiple data sources allows us to uncover some emerging trends in how families are starting to plan for summer and beyond.

Growing Confidence and Hotel Booking Behaviors

Despite the easing of the lockdown restrictions, American households are still cautious about travel. In a recent June survey,1 four in 10 were not confident that they can travel safely in the current environment. However, looking ahead, 70 percent of American travelers are planning to take at least one leisure trip this year.

Over three-quarters of them have a sense of when and where this trip will take place. One symbol of the current times: only a third plan to include people outside of their households in their travel party.

A closer look at the hotel booking momentum reveals that volumes in June in the U.S. are at about 60 percent compared to last year.2 To put that into perspective, bookings in Italy are only at 17 percent of their 2019 volume. Interestingly enough, we notice a shift towards domestic reservations versus international reservations. In May, 96 percent of hotels booked were for domestic hotels – compared to an average of 75 percent before COVID-19.

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