Updates 11/20: Ohio's Travel Industry and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
FORECAST FOR U.S. TRAVEL RELEASED
U.S. Travel released the Fall 2020 Travel Forecast, which provides updated estimates for how domestic leisure and business travel, as well as international inbound travel, will perform this year and beyond. The results of this report are dire, particularly for business travel.
Based on what we are hearing from you, different Ohio regions and industry sub-sectors are experiencing various levels of decline and growth. Rural areas, those with outdoor activities, those who have really focused on implementing and communicated safety protocols, and those who have had the ability to create new experiences with distancing top of mind are doing better than others.
One bright spot is that the forecast for domestic leisure travel has improved slightly since spring.
- Total travel spending is expected to decline by 45% and not return to 2019 levels until 2024 or 2025. This includes international markets as well.
- As Ohio is largely driven by domestic travel, it’s important to consider forecasts without international travel in the mix. Domestic leisure travel spending is anticipated to be down 34%, while domestic business travel spending is forecasted to decline 55%.
- Looking at the number of person-trips, domestic leisure travel is expected to decline by 24%, domestic business by 60% and international inbound travel by a staggering 76% this year
- Total losses will reach $510 billion by the end of the year and $1 trillion by the end of 2023
- Nationwide, we are on pace to lose 4.5 million direct travel jobs—that’s 50% of all travel jobs—by the end of 2020.
AMERICANS STILL TRAVELED FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2020. AS PREDICTED, VISITING FRIENDS AND RELATIVES, ROAD TRIPS, AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AMONG MOST POPULAR
Key findings from Longwoods International’s Travel USA report released Nov. 18. This research is important as it measured actual travel behavior and not just sentiment:
- Despite a significant decline in domestic travel and visitor spending in Q2 2020, Americans still traveled
- As predicted, half of domestic trips in Q2 were to visit friends and family.
- The share of outdoor trips nearly doubled in Q2 2020, compared to Q2 2019, and now represent more than 10% of all overnight trips
- Average trip spending was down almost one-quarter for the first half of 2020 compared to 2019 – particularly in the recreation, food and beverage and lodging categories
- As projected by sentiment surveys, road trips dominated with three-quarters of travelers preferring to travel by auto, and short-term rentals gained share over traditional lodging accommodations
- The average length of stay increased nearly 10% to four nights on average. Before getting too excited about this, note that this may have been driven by first quarter growth, as it appears the length of stay softened second quarter.
- The size of travel parties grew in the second quarter by 15% from the long-term average of around three persons.
AVERAGE LOSS IN BOOKINGS CLOSE TO 70%, INCREASE IN BOOKINGS CLOSE TO HOME, ONLINE BOOKINGS GREW WHILE BOOKINGS THROUGH ONLINE TRAVEL INTERMEDIARIES FELL
Key findings from Arival’s The State of Recovery for Tours, Activities and Attractions report fielded Sept. 10 through Oct. 9. Unless specified below as Canada/US, results are based on global respondents:
- 3 in 4 of respondents had some sort of business for at least part of the summer. One in four have yet to reopen.
- 67% decline is the average loss in bookings in Canada and the US
- Local and domestic bookings account for 90% of bookings in the US and Canada.
- Online booking increased, while bookings through Online Travel Intermediaries (such as Expedia) slid. The reasoning is that travelers are looking to connect with tour operators and attractions directly to have more certainty. That being said, most operators say they expect these Online Travel Intermediaries to grow in importance.
- 59% of attractions have expanded cancellation and refund policies, and 34% have created small group and private experiences.
- Just 16% of tour and attraction operators launched virtual tours, and only 14% said they were effective. (Please note that the survey did not identify the metrics used to determine whether or not virtual tours were effective. Some may be launching virtual experiences to keep members engaged or to fulfill their educational mission.)
Public Health Order Updates
INTENT OF GOVERNOR'S GATHERING ORDER IS LARGELY FOR SOCIAL EVENTS. SAFETY PROTOCOL IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.
In Tuesday’s State of Ohio COVID-19 briefing, Governor DeWine stated that the Nov. 15 Amended Gatherings Order “has to do of course with wedding receptions and funerals.” The Governor can be heard reinforcing this point in this [on-demand recording of the announcement, at 07:33.]
OTA and OHLA previously contacted the Governor’s office to explain urgent concerns about the impact of the order on meetings, conferences and banquet events. The Governor’s comments and those conversations confirm the intent of the order is for social events, and the state has not taken action to lead to cancelling business events by making them unworkable. For business events, venues are directed to ensure compliance with existing requirements and standards for seating including limits on the number of attendees per table, social distancing, face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting, and health safety.
Key elements of the mass gathering order include:
- No socializing or activities in open congregate areas.
- No dancing.
- Guests must be seated at all times, although traditional wedding reception activities, such as toasts and cutting the cake, are permitted.
- No self-serve bar areas.
- Guests must be served food and beverages at their seats.
- Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food and beverages.
- No more than 10 people seated to a table, and those individuals must be from the same household.
REVISED PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER FOR RETAIL BUSINESSES RELEASED
Governor DeWine released the revised public health order regarding mask-wearing and compliance:
- All retailers must post signs at all entrances indicating that masks are required. Employees are not required to put themselves in jeopardy or risk harm when enforcing this order.
- All retailers must post at all entrances a maximum capacity limit to ensure a minimum of six-feet physical distance can be maintained throughout the location.
- All retailers should mark six-feet separation spots in all check-out lines.
- All retailers should arrange all store aisles to be directionally one-way, if required to achieve appropriate social distancing.
- All retailers should place hand sanitizer stations at high-contact locations.
- All retailers must require employees to stay home if symptomatic.
- All retailers must disinfect high-touch areas after each use (e.g. carts, baskets, and other equipment).
- All retailers should provide reasonable accommodation to any person unable to wear a mask into the store by providing online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick up or a delivery option and/or allowing a person to wear a full face shield that extends below the chin. Each retailer must post a sign at each entrance detailing these accommodations.
- Customers are strongly urged to use online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick-up or delivery options.
- This order does not apply to those medically or developmentally unable to wear a face covering.
- Each business should designate an on-site compliance officer for each business location and each shift during all business hours to enforce these requirements.
- State of Ohio employees with enforcement powers, including the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Retail Compliance Unit employees working on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health, representatives of local health departments, and local law enforcement are authorized to inspect and enforce the order.
- All retailers shall allow representatives of the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement to inspect public areas during business hours.
- The representative will issue an initial warning to the business before issuing a notice of violation requiring closure.
- If a notice of violation of these orders is issued by a representative from the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement, the retail location must immediately shut down for no longer than 24 hours to allow for dissipation of COVID-19 airborne droplets.
- Citizens observing non-compliance should notify the Ohio Department of Health call center at 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634).
Your Help Is Needed
SHARE YOUR STORY SO LEADERS UNDERSTAND THE URGENCY
Please take a few minutes to share how COVID-19 has impacted your business or organization. These stories will be used to communicate the urgency of the situation to members of Congress, as well as Ohio leaders, as talks about economic relief continue. Thanks to the generosity of U.S. Travel, Ohio results and stories will be shared with the Ohio Travel Association to avoid duplication. The survey is being conducted by the COVID Relief Now Coalition, of which the Ohio Travel Association is a partner.
Economic Relief Updates
OHIO NONPROFIT GRANTS GUIDELINES RELEASED - DOES NOT INCLUDE RECREATION AND/OR CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS
Despite the gap in relief for many recreation and cultural organizations due to the arts and culture grants only being given to about 350 organizations who already receive state funding, the new nonprofit grant guidelines released this week do not include those from the travel and hospitality economy most in need. Only 501(c)(3) agencies that provide direct services to low-income or at-risk Ohioans are eligible for the nonprofit relief program, and the agency further says eligibility is granted to only those outside health care, education, recreation and/or cultural activities. More details can be found here.