School is out for summer, and vaccines are out, too. So how is summer vacation planning for 2021 going? There are definitely mixed views on whether or not travel is safe, and the CDC guidelines are changing often, too, but there is a pent-up demand to get out of the house and make up for vacations missed last year. The Brandon Agency works with many travel-sector clients that are navigating the post-vaccine travel world and were able to share a little insight on what they were seeing.
According to a Longwoods International study published April 6, 2020, 88% of Americans have travel plans in the next six months, the highest level in more than a year. However, less than a third of them are likely to visit a tourist attraction or business that does not have clear COVID safety protocols, such as mask requirements and social distancing, in place. The study goes on to say the pandemic continues to cause shifts in travel patterns, with domestic and drive destinations being favored over international and fly-to locations.
The Myrtle Beach area is a prime summer vacation spot and Brittain Resorts, a client of The Brandon Agency, has been a leader in the Myrtle Beach travel sector since 1943. “In comparison to previous years, we have seen an increase in demand for Myrtle Beach vacations. Vacationers seem to be very interested in visiting Myrtle Beach, making it a top destination for 2021,” said Jordan Waite, social media manager for Brittain Resorts & Hotels. “This year we have received more inquiries about outdoor activities from our guests. As well, we have more individuals seeking out information about policies and safety procedures in the area,” Waite said.
In an effort to help guests to feel confident in traveling and staying at a Brittain Resorts property the company has updated quality assurance policies that specifically address concerns that are specific to COVID-19 “When vacationers choose to stay with Brittain Resorts for their next vacation, they can book with confidence with our quality assurance policy which includes our cancellation policy, safety procedures, and other recommendations.” Waite said.
Another more recent Longwoods International study published May 4, 2021 states, “As the summer travel season approaches, a majority of Americans now indicate that they feel safe eating and shopping locally (59%) and opening up their communities to visitors (53%). Sixty percent of U.S. travelers also feel safe traveling outside of their communities, a positive indication coupled with the 86% of travelers with travel plans in the next six months.” In the same study, Longwoods President and CEO Amir Eylon said, “The negative impact of COVID-19 on travel planning is waning.” “And the percentage of those planning trips in the next 60 to 90 days is increasing, encouraging news for summer tourism.”
Another of The Brandon Agency’s clients, Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, thinks that its tourism season is off to a good start for 2021 and, Marketing Manager Tangela Boyd said, “This spring, we are seeing a resurgence of our family business. Prior to the start of the season, we were not sure if we would see more couples, adult groups, or families with children. Anecdotally, we’re seeing a mix of all three, but we are pleasantly surprised by the number of families with children we are seeing here enjoying the beach.”
Boyd went on to say, “Although people are beginning to travel again, many do so with the understanding that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. So while on vacation, they may choose to not visit indoor malls or museums and stick to outdoor activities and attractions. In Daytona Beach, we have been heavily promoting our beaches and parks with the slogan, “Wide. Open. Fun.” to let our visitors know that there is still plenty to see and do while on vacation here — even during a pandemic.”
With the weather warming up, it certainly feels like summer is right upon us, and if you haven’t started planning a summer vacation yet, it is not too late to make it happen. One trend that has been prevalent throughout the pandemic is shorter booking windows for trips, so squeezing in a vacation before Labor Day is still very doable.
According to an Expedia 2021 Travel Trends Report published in December 2020, 34% of travelers in 2020 had a shorter booking window, 30% of travelers preferred to drive to their destinations, 56% want a beach vacation and April-September is the most popular time to travel.
Whether you are taking a trip to a new destination or visiting a familiar spot that is more like a second home, getting away is a luxury that can still happen this summer and one that many missed in 2020. There are many benefits to travel from a wellness standpoint, and it looks according to the studies referenced above that summer vacation planning in 2021 is off to a strong start.
Want to learn more about recent trends in the travel and tourism industry? Check out what’s trending from the travel and tourism experts at The Brandon Agency. Have questions about how your company can connect with TBA? Give us a call or fill out our contact form.