New Study: There is plenty of pent-up demand for summer travel and ‘workcations’ are the new trend

The Revenge Traveler is here to stay: 45 percent of travelers now fall into the “revenge travel” segment (up from 10 percent at the end 2020) with plans to increase their travel spending in 2021 – and elevated travel budgets aren’t expected to go away anytime soon

 

The  global Travel Trends 2021 study* conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global strategy and marketing consulting firm, revealed that 39 percent of leisure travelers still plan to book a vacation for this summer, while 30 percent already have booked their getaway. The study, based on a representative sample of more than 7,000 individuals across seven countries (China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) also finds that respondents do not perceive prices related to travel to be higher than pre-pandemic.

The resurgence of travel in 2021 and what it will look like

While leisure travelers are enthusiastically moving ahead with their vacation plans for the remaining summer period and the rest of the year  -- in the US, 32 percent have already booked a summer trip while 33 percent have yet to do so but plan to – things may look a bit different than before. Although price remains the leading booking criterion for travelers, the following three leading factors are directly influenced by the pandemic: restrictions in place at the desired travel destinations, governmental restrictions, and trust in the health system of the destination. Travelers will also be opting for more socially-distanced forms of travel, with 41 percent opting to travel by private car – yet, 34 percent still plan to travel via plane.

Dimitris Hiotis, Partner and Head of the Leisure, Travel and Tourism Practice at Simon-Kucher, comments: “The experience of the pandemic has, as we have seen before, changed customer needs and preferences. Travelers want assurance that they can go on holiday with no restrictions or risk of having to quarantine or having any restrictions in enjoying their holiday. Travel and hospitality players need to demonstrate flexibility in booking conditions and that they have taken all precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay to their guests.”

Workcation – the future of work-life balance?

Nearly half of those surveyed internationally (43 percent) said that they anticipate taking a workcation in the near future, thanks to the increased flexibility of remote working models. The most enthusiastic response came from China, where 70 percent said they are likely to do a workcation in the future, compared to the UK on the low end of the spectrum at only 30 percent – in the US, 47 percent plan to take a workcation. In fact, 76 percent of those who plan to take a workcation say that the ability to split their time between working from their destination and enjoying time off will allow them to extend their trip by a week or more. The most important features in selecting a workcation destination are stable and high-speed internet/WiFi and a dedicated working space.

”The shift to remote working and hybrid models is good news for travel and hospitality players, as people see the benefit of extending their holiday to more days, provided they can work during the day and relax in a lovely holiday spot in the evening and weekends. This will be especially beneficial for vacation rental businesses that can guarantee good WiFi,” adds Hiotis.

The long-term impacts on the leisure travel

While it’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to influence travel plans throughout 2021, with many countries still experiencing varying degrees of lockdowns and restrictions, 70 percent of those surveyed say they expect changes to their travel habits into 2022. When it comes to spending, 34 percent of international respondents expect to spend more on leisure travel in the years to come as compared to pre-pandemic. The largest share of higher future budget was observed in Russia (52 percent) and the lowest in Germany (27 percent) – in the US, 36 percent plan to spend more on leisure travel in the coming years. Another major change will be how far in advance travelers plan to book their trips: only 15 percent said they booked their trips on short notice prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, now 32 percent plan to book on short notice.

Wei Ke, Partner in Simon-Kucher’s Leisure, Travel and Tourism Practice, points out: “The prolonged lockdowns led to pent-up demand for travel, which has already manifested itself in the last couple of long weekends in North America. With the loosening of restrictive measures ahead of the summer months, both domestically and overseas (e.g. Europe), the leisure travel and hospitality industries are seeing signs of rapid recovery.”

Full study report available upon request

*About the study: The global study, Travel Trends 2021 was conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners in June 2021. More than 7,000 people China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States were surveyed about their travel and booking behavior for 2021 and beyond.

Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants:
Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global consulting firm with more than 1,400 professionals in 41 offices worldwide focusing on TopLine Power®. Founded in 1985, the company has over 35 years of experience providing strategy and marketing consulting and is regarded as the world’s leading pricing advisor.