The global pandemic has led to the rise of the cautiously optimistic traveller, with a greater desire to explore one’s own backyard and revisit favourite haunts over exploring bucket list destinations, according to a recent global study by Hotels.com, an Expedia Group company.
The study uncovered five trends that are shaping post-pandemic travel as vacation seekers around the world adapt to a new normal of travel.
Closed borders, wandering minds and rise of the cautiously optimistic traveller
With the pandemic limiting vacation plans, one thing is for certain – travellers are #ThirstyForTravel, with 84% of respondents admitting that they are looking forward to travelling again.
However, while the desire for travel is strong, travel attitudes have also changed. Some 49% admit that they would still be nervous to travel even after all travel restrictions have been lifted. In fact, at least five out of 10 travellers require reassurance from local governments and health authorities before they start travelling again – 30% would feel most comfortable travelling again when a vaccine has been developed, and 27% would feel reassured when the government confirms that travel is safe.
Furthermore, maintaining personal hygiene takes precedence over staying connected and being fashionable on holiday as hand sanitisers (61%), surgical masks (51%), disinfectant wipes (47%) and travel insurance documents (43%) top the list of necessities to pack for their next vacation. Laptops, iPads, books and magazines (45%), as well as travel accessories such as jewellry, sunglasses and hats (42%) moved down the priority list.
Reliving past memories, familiarity over the unknown
When it comes to post-pandemic travel, familiarity breeds comfort, as 33% want to explore more of their own country and revisit their favourite haunts (31%) over exploring new places (27%) and bucket list destinations (27%).
The desire to rediscover one’s own backyard is also evident, with 29% of respondents preferring to go on a domestic holiday over an international vacation (26%) when planning their next trip.
Retreat for the mind, ‘belly’ and soul
The global pandemic has also paved the way for a new generation of travellers – Generation E – also known as Generation Enlightened, a new wave of travellers seeking to improve their mental and physical wellbeing through travel.
Globally, 86% of travellers believe that travelling is a post-pandemic stress buster that can enrich the mind, body and soul. Feeling relaxed and stress-free (51%) tops the list of what these “Gen E” travellers are looking forward to in their post-pandemic vacation.
When it comes to wellness travel, it’s no longer just about getting massages or practicing yoga. Eating great food (55%) also plays an important role in nourishing the ‘belly’ and soul during travel. This belief extends to the stay experience, with 51% of travellers ranking a good hotel buffet as number one on the list of key amenities that accommodations should have to improve guests’ personal wellbeing.
Other important amenities include fresh towels (50%) and sanitation facilities such as public hand sanitisers (48%), which ranked second and third, respectively.
Beach more, worry less
The trend of wanting to escape the hustle and bustle is also reflected in the types of accommodation travellers would choose to feel most relaxed. Beach resorts (44%), luxury 5-star hotels (43%) and vacation rental (35%) emerged as some of the top accommodation choices for vacationers to feel the most at ease.
With 36% of consumers admitting that they would now actively avoid visiting crowded places once they start travelling again, it comes as no surprise that the sparseness of beaches would appeal to the cautious traveller.
Keeping up with the family and the wanderlust
Notably, romantic getaways (25%) take a backseat to family holidays (38%), as the global pandemic seems to have struck a chord on the importance of family during this period. Some 38% of respondents state that they would start travelling again to spend more time with family and friends they haven’t seen in a while. A holiday with family (40%) or partner (31%) is also the first thing that people plan to spend on when things get back to normal, over a big night out with friends (19%) or shopping (17%).
Among the top holiday motivators for travellers around the world are the need to travel for a change of scenery (45%) and to make the most of one’s freedom post-pandemic (41%).
The study was conducted by One Poll between May 28 and June 24, 2020 among 7,000 respondents in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK and the US.