After a year of unprecedented change in the travel industry in 2020, traveler behaviors are shifting rapidly.
For tourism and hospitality businesses hit hard by the pandemic, staying ahead of these trends will be crucial, as the roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine serves as a catalyst for a return to dining and leisure travel in 2021.
As the world’s largest travel platform1, Tripadvisor is in a unique position to provide the travel industry with forward-looking market insights, shedding light on the type of trips leisure travelers are planning in 2021 around the globe.
We recently analyzed the very latest traveler sentiment data across six major markets (the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore), and combined that with our proprietary first party traveler search data, to track how, when and where travel behaviors are likely to change (or stay the same) in the year ahead.
There are some trends that emerged in 2020 that are likely to persist in 2021 and beyond. Safety and hygiene considerations will remain a big priority for travelers, and tools like Tripadvisor’s TravelSafe feature can play an important role in helping hospitality businesses showcase the steps they have taken - and are taking - to protect their customers and guests.
The popularity of nature and outdoor activity-filled trips - a trend our Tripadvisor research analysts highlighted throughout 2020 - will likely remain high on the agenda for many travelers too, as consumers seek peace and relaxation away from the crowd.
But not all of the trends we saw in 2020 will necessarily continue into the new year, and it is important that tourism operators and destinations prepare now for shifts in consumer behaviors that are likely to play out in 2021.
1/ Travelers are planning to travel abroad in the second half
With the pandemic wreaking havoc on many people’s travel plans in 2020, it is no surprise that nearly two thirds (65%) of leisure travelers surveyed say they did not travel internationally at all in 2020.
We anticipate a reversal of that behavior in 2021. Nearly half (47%) of all respondents globally say they are planning to travel internationally in 2021, with less than a third (30%) of travelers saying they don’t expect to travel internationally at all this year.
In fact, one in nine respondents (11%) have already booked an international trip for 2021, and an additional 17% say they are actively in research mode. In the United States, 13% of respondents have already booked an upcoming international trip.
Here are five key trends to watch out for in 2021
1 - Source: SimilarWeb, September 2020