PwC Travel Trend: Bring your shades. The future looks bright
5 travel trends to track
What will the future look like for travel after the abrupt standstill in early 2020? With vaccinations on the rise and infections on the decline in the US, a growing number of consumers are eager to get away. Many have the financial wherewithal, having been hunkered down at home for much of the past year, with fewer-than-usual opportunities to spend money.
To understand the latest shifts in travel expectations, attitudes and behaviors—as well as the sustainability of those shifts—PwC surveyed more than 1,300 US consumers in April 2021 and compared the results to earlier surveys conducted in April and August of 2020. Most respondents to our latest survey told us they have at least one flight and/or an overnight stay planned for business or leisure within the next 12 months.
- Pent-up travel demand is bubbling up. Will the bubble burst? - Consumers are on the move again, requiring travel providers to think about how best to balance supply with demand in the wake of nuanced consumer considerations: Despite the propensity for price to dominate travel purchase decisions, consumers also have health and safety concerns.
- Public health remains paramount - Safety matters to consumers; they underscored that for us. Our survey found that a clear majority—85%—have either already been vaccinated or plan to be. And 70% favor vaccination verification while traveling.
- An enthusiasm gap emerges - By a wide margin, travelers who have taken at least one trip since the onset of the pandemic enthusiastically recommend it to others: More than 70% would recommend flying and more than 60% would recommend overnight stays to those who have not yet traveled. Meanwhile, a small group (10%) of those who have already traveled are unwilling to recommend it to others.
- Less-than-eager business travelers begin planning business travel - After a year of remote work and video calls, we expect business travel to make a gradual comeback in the months ahead. However, as business leaders rethink corporate travel policies, the future of business travel remains somewhat amorphous.
- Brand loyalty still up for grabs - While consumers are eager to travel, they may not go back to their pre-pandemic providers. When we surveyed consumers last summer, some 40% told us they would likely switch loyalties. That trend is now taking root: One in three travelers followed through when it came to trying a brand other than the one currently holding their highest loyalty program status. 85% of them told us they’re likely to stay with the airline they switched to while 76% said the same about hotels.