2020 Holiday Travel: This Isn’t What We Meant When We Said Home for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving just weeks away, time is running out to “wait and see” and consumers are coming to terms with their 2020 holiday travel. Will they stay home or head home for the holidays? Or will they take the necessary precautions to see loved ones?

Celebrating the Holidays with Family and Friends this Season

To set the stage (or table), let’s look at those who are spending the holidays, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas, with family and friends beyond their immediate family.

Whom do you anticipate spending the upcoming holidays with throughout the rest of 2020?

holiday travel 2020 - pandemic holiday travel

Source: Resonate National Consumer Study© COVID-19 & Recent Events Connected Flash Study, Wave 9, 2020

The group who will extend their circle beyond immediate family consists of 53 million consumers, or just under 25% of the U.S. population. Their numbers have stayed consistent since July, only increasing by less than 2 percentage points.

Travel Sentiment of Those Who Will Celebrate with Extended Friends & Family

Now, let’s analyze the levels of comfort regarding travel for the 53 Americans who plan on spending the holidays with loved ones beyond their immediate family.

This group is 13% more likely to fall into the Reopen Ready category in terms of Coronavirus precautions, meaning they’re ready to resume some in-person activities. They may be among the first to hit the road and get out of town, particularly as we approach the holiday season and seek out some sense of normalcy.

56% plan to resume leisure travel by Winter 2020

56% of these 53 million consumers plan on resuming their leisure travel by Winter 2020, which could align with traveling this holiday season to see friends and family near and far.
45% plan their leisure travel around visiting family and 63% plan on driving to another city within the next 90 days to visit family friends. Additionally,75% plan on resuming domestic travel as soon as the pandemic is over.

What Does This Mean for 2020 Holiday Travel?

While we still have several weeks to go, according to these numbers, we could see 25% of Americans traveling this holiday season.

If you’re in travel, while you may expect smaller crowds, this year isn’t entire a wash. Keep in mind that, despite warming up to the idea of seeing others, 50% of this group is still social distancing to a large extent. So, you’ll want to pay close attention to what these consumers need before they they hit the road (or air).

17% of these holiday revelers already feel safe getting on a plane or train. What could encourage the rest to feel safe returning to travel?

  • 60% indicate seeing friends and family travel would be necessary
  • 48% would require reduced occupancy on flights and trains
  • 50% expect all passengers to wear masks and gloves
  • 46% would like to see temperature checks before boarding

And, 20% are anxious travelers even during normal times, so for those travel marketers out there, now’s the time to promote every safety precaution you’re taking to put holiday travelers’ minds at ease.

Remember, when Perry Como sang There’s no place like home for the holidays,” this isn’t quite what he meant so don’t forget to check in with the CDC’s latest holiday travel recommendations.

Categorized as: Market, Agency, Brand

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