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Update 01/21/22: Ohio's Travel Industry and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Travel Research


Key findings from Destination Analysts fielded Jan. 12 - 14, 2022

  • With Omicron-fueled COVID case records continuing to disrupt life in the U.S.—from staffing shortages to full hospitals—Americans concerned about personally contracting the virus rose over 7-points in the last two weeks to 65.4%. This exceeds levels during the Delta-variant and is the highest it has been since February 2021.
  • 71.9% report that at least one person in their personal circle has contracted COVID just in the last month alone (2.9 friends, relatives and/or coworkers on average).
  • Omicron also continues to impact trips, with 40.8% of American travelers reporting either a cancellation or postponement specifically due to the variant—an 8-point gain from the start of the month.
  • Nearly 30% have said that the challenges procuring COVID tests have stopped them from traveling in the past month.
  • About 30% of recent trip-takers reported a high-degree of COVID anxiety and three-quarters of all American travelers say they are or will be more careful when traveling because of Omicron.
  • Nevertheless, while 44.6% of American travelers have frequently worried that people are giving up on COVID safety when they shouldn’t, 30% admit to frequently feeling exhausted in the past month from having to deal with the COVID-19 situation and 35% say they have frequently had the thought that “life should go back to normal” despite the pandemic.
  • Optimism that the pandemic will improve in the next month has soared 10-points in the last two weeks to 30.6%.
  • Nearly 80% of American travelers have trips currently planned in 2022. Over 70% have engaged in travel planning and/or dreaming in the past week alone—a 7-point increase over the past month. Excitement for an unplanned getaway (70.0%) and openness to travel inspiration (66.2%) both increased 5-points in the past two weeks.
  • This week, 72.8% of Americans expressed higher levels of excitement for their prospective travel future—reaching the highest level it’s been since the Omicron wave began. In fact, when asked for the one word that describes how they feel about travel right now, “excited” is the top response. The average number of anticipated leisure trips Americans plan to take over the next 12 months has hit its highest peak during the pandemic era at 3.1.
  • In addition, more Americans now say that travel will be a spending priority in the next 3 months (58.2%—a 3-month high).
  • It appears the typical American traveler has used a wide array of travel planning resources recently. Digital channels naturally dominate destination marketing receptivity. When asked about the channels they’d be most receptive to learning about new travel destinations to visit, website found via a search engine (29.9%), email (24.0%), Facebook (21.3%), streaming video services such as YouTube or Hulu (19.3%) and online content such as articles and blogs (18.0%) topped the list. Instagram is also a top resource for Millennials, while printed travel and lifestyle magazines are key for inspiring Baby Boomers.
  • When it comes to travel planning, Americans are commonly using Facebook (27.0%), YouTube (26.0%) and Instagram (20.9%), online travel agencies (24.6%), online content such as articles and blogs (22.4%), printed travel or lifestyle magazines (16.7%) and television programming (14.4%). American travelers are also looking to official resources such as the official destination website (21.9%) and an online visitor guide (14.7%) or printed visitor guide (11.8%) to plan their travel.
  • By far the types of trips Americans are most excited about taking in the next year include family trips and romantic getaways. Millennial and Gen Z-aged travelers exhibit much higher levels of excitement for many different trip types compared to older travelers. In terms of interest in specific activities in the next 12 months, Americans are most interested in enjoying scenic beauty, warm weather outdoor activities, road trips, dining in regional restaurants, visiting historical sites and enjoying street food during their travels.


Key findings from Tripadvisor fielded November 2021

  • 78% of Americans surveyed said they were likely to travel in 2022.
  • In the United States, intent for leisure travel abroad is up 6 percentage points compared to 2019, while domestic leisure travel plans for 2022 are up 8 percentage points against 2019.
  • Approximately 7 in 10 respondents surveyed said that destinations that have a low number of COVID-19 cases are important when making a decision on where to travel next. 
  • A whopping 75% of Americans say it’s important they “see new places” when thinking about their future travel plans.
  • More than a third to nearly half of all travelers surveyed by Ipsos MORI in the United States said that traveling to a destination they’ve never been to before would be more important to them now, compared to trips they took in 2019, when choosing where to travel.
  • About a third of respondents also said they are now more open to exploring new travel destinations than before the pandemic. This appetite for the “new” provides the perfect opportunity for businesses to capture a new customer, so they should bear this in mind when planning marketing strategies for the year ahead.
  • The top three most important considerations in future travel plans to visit a destination was to get immersive by seeing new places, having new experiences, and learning about history and culture.
  • When planning future trips, 34% of American travelers said that it’s more important now than before the pandemic that they choose a destination where they can immerse themselves in “authentic local experiences.”
  • 30% of travelers surveyed say it’s more important now that they “pack as many activities” into their holiday travel as possible.
  • Roughly 3 in 10 Americans who traveled for leisure in 2019 say it’s more important now than before the pandemic to splurge on a big trip.
  • According to the survey, in addition to spending time in nature and relaxing and dining out, one of the main areas where travelers seem to have an interest in 2022 is in self-guided cultural activities. On the other side of the coin, looking at guided cultural activities — those activities and tours, where subject matter experts and professional guides allow for travelers to sit back, learn, relax, and see all that an area has to offer — about 2 in 10 travelers surveyed said they will do more of this when planning trips in 2022 or beyond than before the pandemic.
  • 22% of travelers said that they plan to experience more guided cultural activities than they had pre-pandemic.
  • One-third of the Americans who aren’t traveling next year said they’ve decided against it because of uncertainty surrounding possible travel restrictions.
  • Seventy-percent of Americans who responded to Ipsos MORI’s survey agree that an establishment’s cleanliness will be an important factor in their travel decision making.
  • 63% percent of Americans surveyed agree that they would like to see safety measures (e.g. hand sanitizer, perspex sneeze screens, track and trace, etc.) in place at hospitality businesses, even after COVID-19 cases have dropped worldwide.
  • American travelers are spending 29% more on their average booking in 2022 than they did in 2019. 


Key findings from IMPACTS Research published January 19, 2022

  • New research this month says 56.8% of adult Americans and 71.1% of likely visitors (people who actually attend these organizations) now believe US cultural entities should require visitors to show proof of vaccination.
  • In September, only 48% of likely visitors believed that proof of vaccination should be an admission requirement.
  • There is significant variance in sentiments across the US, and things aren't even consistent within states, let alone regions. Consider, for example, major cities within the state of Ohio: Among high-propensity visitors residing within metro Cleveland, 64.8% believe that organizations should require proof of vaccination. Travel two hours down the highway to Columbus, and this belief among high-propensity visitors increases to 71.9%. Keep heading a few more hours south on the same highway to Cincinnati, and the belief that proof of vaccinations should be required by organizations decreases to 54.5%.
  • Even with regional variance, however, a majority of Americans increasingly feel safe visiting both exhibit and performance-based entities when vaccinations are required, and the trendline is important to note regardless of where your cultural entity is located.
  • Even if your organization is not able to make this a requirement by law or if yours is a particularly red county, trends in overall sentiment and behaviors for the rest of the United States may impact tourism, strategic planning, and market potential considerations.
  •  As of the start of 2022, requiring proof of vaccination is now the second biggest factor for making potential visitors to exhibit-based entities feel comfortable, and the third for performance-based entities. In both cases, over 64% of respondents said that requiring proof of vaccination would make them feel safe and comfortable.
  • More than half of all Americans think exhibit-based entities should require proof of vaccination, and this has risen notably since September. Not only that, nearly 69% of likely visitors believe that these entities should require proof of vaccination. From a research perceptive on a divided topic, that is a high percentage of likely visitors.

Travel Research Round-Up

Take a look at the latest trends and traveler sentiments in a one-page research summary, including some updates on how the Omicron variant has and will impact travel sentiment. 

 View Research Round-Up Here

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