2 min read

Travel up, future less certain

As the COVID pandemic eases, it’s no surprise that consumers have ramped up their travel activities over the past year. According to Bovitz’s proprietary survey data from the Forthright panel, 53% of respondents traveled for leisure in the second quarter of 2022, up 14 percentage points from the same quarter of 2021. These aren’t just day trips, either – 39% of travelers spent at least $1,000 on their trips, up 12 points from 27% a year ago.

Why the dramatic increase? Consumers have grown less worried and more excited about the opportunity to travel, with growing confidence (+6 points), excitement (+11), and relaxation (+5) about the prospect of traveling, compared to this time last year. Conversely, while 17% of participants report being worried about travel, that’s down 5 points from 22% a year ago. This comfort extends to international travel and travel within the US, with both up over 10 points relative to a year ago.

COVID Travel - Timelines Post

Interestingly, these changes aren’t necessarily due to an increased perception that the COVID-19 pandemic has eased or gotten under control. Rather, participants report an increase in feeling that we’ve learned to live with COVID (up to 67% from 53% a year ago) and that the vaccine process is trustworthy (up 8 points to 59%).

Fewer respondents are taking COVID precautions such as masking and using hand sanitizer, but travelers are testing more both before and after trips (up 8 points to 29%). This has given travelers some more comfort with planning trips ahead of time, with those saying they booked several months in advance increasing by 9 points, to 23%.

The types of travel activities have changed, too, with an increase in plane travel (+10 points to 25%) and an increase in staying at vacation rentals such as Airbnb and Vrbo (+8 to 18%). The COVID-induced increase in outdoor activities (hiking, camping, visiting national or state parks) appears to be waning, as it is down 6 points to 28% this quarter.

It’s not all great news, though. In the second quarter of 2021, 35% of consumers expected to take at least one leisure trip in Q2 of 2022. Projecting forward to Q2 of 2023, only 26% of consumers expect to take a leisure trip, a decrease of 9 percentage points. The cause of this change is unclear, but one potential culprit is the economy: 58% of respondents agree with the statement, “The current economic environment has caused me to scale back my vacations,” up 6 points from 52% a year ago. This may indicate the anticipated impact of inflation, with higher gas prices and airfares and more money spent on everyday essentials at home.

One sector of the travel industry may have something to look forward to, however. Looking ahead to the second quarter of 2023, pricier vacations may be on the horizon, as luxury hotels (+5 points), rental properties like Airbnb and Vrbo (+7), and time shares (+6) are all more popular than they were as consumers looked ahead a year ago.

Stay tuned for more information about travel, as we will post some of the interesting trends from our third quarter 2022 survey. For more information about trends in travel, shopping, entertainment, and more, as well as trends among subgroups, visit our website. We’re passionate about telling consumers’ stories to help your brand meet people where they are.


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