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5 traveller trends in 2021

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Tripadvisor has released the findings of a new research report based on the platform’s unique insight into shifting traveller trends, revealing how consumers are planning to travel in 2021 and what impact the ongoing pandemic has had on their trip planning habits.

The report, which analysed first-party search data as well as traveller sentiment across six major markets (the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore), revealed consumers’ increasing confidence that they will travel abroad in the second half of the year, despite the restrictions on international travel currently in force in countries like the UK.

In fact, globally, the majority of hotel clicks on Tripadvisor are already shifting to international destinations for trips taking place from May 2021 onwards (as opposed to domestic destinations, which had dominated the proportion of hotel clicks throughout 2020).

The five trends highlighted in the report are:

  1. Travellers are planning to travel abroad in the second half of the year, but won’t wait to make plans – with Brits the most likely bookers
  • Nearly half (47%) of all travellers surveyed globally say they are planning to travel internationally in 2021. In the UK, that proportion rises to well over half (58%) of those surveyed.
  • In fact, of the six nations surveyed British holidaygoers are the most likely to have already booked a 2021 trip abroad – one in six (16%) have already done so, compared to a global average of one in ten (11%) respondents.
  • In the first week of January, 85% of hotel clickers on Tripadvisor in the UK were planning international breaks for later this year – of fifteen countries analysed, only Germany had a higher proportion of users clicking to book international hotels that week.
  1. Vaccinations will be a game-changer for traveller confidence
  • The widespread roll-out of a vaccine won’t just impact travellers’ confidence to travel, it will have a major influence on where leisure travellers are prepared to go too.
  • Globally, more than three quarters (77%) of travellers surveyed say they will be more likely to travel internationally if they receive the vaccine, rising to 86% for travel domestically.
  • In the UK, nearly a third (29%) of travellers surveyed say they are much more likely to take an international trip in 2021 once they have received the vaccine.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of respondents globally say that they would only travel to destinations that required visitors to be vaccinated before travel,with Australian (32%) and U.S. (30%) travellers the most likely to expect destinations to adopt this safety measure (compared to 23% of Brits).
  1. Domestic trips remain high on travellers’ wishlist for 2021
  • While international tourism looks to be getting a boost this year following a shutdown for much of 2020, domestic travel isn’t necessarily going to take a back seat in 2021. In the first week of January, nearly 70% of hotel clickers on Tripadvisor were booking future domestic trips, while further out, May through August are still proving the most popular months for domestic trips.
  • Globally, three quarters (74%) of travellers surveyed plan to take at least one overnight domestic leisure trip in 2021. In the UK the picture is similar, at 73% planning a domestic trip.
  • The good news for destinations and tourism businesses looking to attract domestic travellers is that nearly two thirds (59%) of those planning a 2021 domestic vacation have yet to book it, so there is still an opportunity for businesses to capture that demand.
  1. The joy of holiday planning will be stronger than ever as travellers spend more time researching 2021 trips
  • With travel plans dashed in early 2020, many people have been dreaming about their next big holiday for more than ten months, so it’s no surprise that travellers are extra conscious of getting it just right when they do travel.
  • Globally, three quarters (74%) of travellers surveyed say they will spend more time choosing a destination this year
  • Of UK travellers surveyed, two thirds (67%) will spend more time choosing their accommodation, 62% will spend more time reading reviews and 60% will spend more time finding things to do.
  1. Consumers can’t wait to dine out again, but their taste for takeaway will still endure
  • As in-person dining was restricted in many countries throughout 2020, the success of takeaway and delivery services soared, as consumers sought to satisfy their appetite. But encouragingly for the hospitality industry, in-person dining’s anticipated rebound in 2021 (once restaurants are allowed to reopen) won’t necessarily mean a decline in takeaway and delivery demand.
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents globally, and 49% of Brits, say they plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often in 2021 than they did in 2020 and a quarter of global respondents (27%) and 22% of Brits say they plan to order more takeaway meals this year.

“Despite the fact that travel and dining restrictions remain in force in the UK, many travellers are still feeling optimistic that they will be able to holiday abroad at some point this year, particularly once the roll-out of the vaccine gains pace. Consumer appetite for travel is as strong as it has been since the start of the pandemic and, as our data shows, many Brits are already actively planning their next big trip – even for trips more than four months out,” said Shibani Walia, senior research analyst, Tripadvisor. “For destinations, brands and tourism operators, it is so important that they act now to attract this early booking demand, or else they risk missing out to the competition.”

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