Amir Eylon, president of Longwoods International, presented sentiment and visitor research on what travellers are thinking, how they are behaving, and how they are evolving in a recent HSMAI webinar, “The Crystal Ball Is Less Cloudy: Using Traveler Sentiment Research as a Guidepost Forward,” to help hospitality professionals understand the road ahead. Based on data provided by Longwoods Travel USA, he identified five growing patterns.
American travellers are travelling in larger groups
In addition to visits with direct family members, such as grandparents or other relatives, friends are gathering and travelling in groups. Eylon advised t he people in the hotel business to accommodate larger groups. He further probed, “can you give them a floor together? [In your dining room], are you able to accept more parties of eight or 10 versus parties of four? As you’re developing your marketing plans, expect those numbers of small groups to be travelling together much more frequently.”
Travelers are opting for longer journeys instead than shorter ones.
People are travelling less frequently but for longer periods of time. More and more people are taking advantage of the ability to work from home, extending their vacation time by checking in with the office while on the road or participating in a workcation. “But don’t ignore the short trips,” Eylon advised. “We’re also seeing more spontaneous travel, [with] a lot of day trips or short weekend getaways.
The planning and booking processes take a long time to complete
People are taking those bucket-list excursions that normally take longer to organise because of the pandemic. While at the same time noting that the data showed an increase in travel spontaneity, Eylon speculated that some people may have more flexibility to travel now than they did prior to the pandemic.
Travelers are exploring the beautiful outdoors
The types of activities listed above continue to be the most popular, according to the statistics Eylon provided. He advised that the industry should consider the reasons why people travel,” he advised his audience. “They’re traveling for all those words that start with the letters ‘R-E.’ They’re traveling now to reconnect, to rekindle relationships, family reunions, or to rejuvenate and recharge their batteries.”
Road trips are still the most popular
According to Eylon, road trips were on the rise before the pandemic and would continue to expand in the future. Road trips encouraged people to feel safer in their own vehicles and more in control of their surroundings early in the outbreak.
According to Eylon, the most crucial trend that hospitality professionals should be on the lookout for is a shift in traveller thinking from pandemic to endemic, as their data revealed that one in every four travellers believes the pandemic has no longer an impact on how they travel anymore. “There’s light at the end of the long tunnel,” he said, “and we’re seeing it. It’s starting to shine on us. And we are going to be back stronger than ever.”