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Expedia Group May Travel Outlook

May 12, 2021
Expedia Group Travel Outlook May 2021

With nearly 30% of Americans fully vaccinated, a surplus of unused PTO, and restrictions lifting in many destinations, even some of the most hesitant travelers are about ready to pack their bags. Soon, the days of empty airports will be a distant memory, but our summer vacations may still look different than what we were accustomed to pre-pandemic, and rightfully so.

Expedia Group surveyed 2,200 Americans in partnership with Morning Consult in May 2021 to gauge how many people are prepared to take a well-deserved break from work, explore, and reconnect with loved ones — and whether recent industry news has impacted their plans. Here’s what we found. 

  1. Summer travel is hot.
  • In the next six months, 64% of people plan to travel for fun. 
  • Fifty-seven percent of plan to take a trip on Memorial Day, or at some point over the summer. 
  1. For the first time in nearly a year, Seniors are traveling more than younger generations.
  • Among all generations, Millennials (69%) are traveling the most, but Boomers (66%) are a close second — higher than both Gen X (64%) and Gen Z (51%). This is a significant shift; likely emboldened by the vaccine rollout, Seniors are ready to get back out there.
  • Sixty percent of Seniors will take a vacation during the summer months. 
  1. Business travel is starting to make a comeback.
  • While corporate travel is nowhere near pre-COVID levels, 25% of those surveyed plan to travel for work in the next six months. Of those corporate travelers, 10% will make their trip “bleisure” style, blending work and pleasure. 
  • On average, business travelers will embark on roughly four work trips by November 2021.
  1. Americans are now considering a trip overseas. 
  • This month, the EU announced that vaccinated Americans will soon be able to head to Europe, and a quarter of people booked or started planning an international getaway after hearing the news. Gen Z (31%) and Millennials (30%) are equally comfortable with the idea.
  • Despite news of new COVID-19 variants, Gen Z (46%) and Millennials (43%) remain most confident about international travel compared to Gen X (24%) and Boomers (16%).
  1. Travelers are uncertain about vaccine passports at this stage. 
  • Nearly half (46%) are in favor of vaccine passports — but the greater majority feel differently. Twenty-nine percent are opposed to vaccine passports, while 24% are undecided.
  • Interestingly, Americans who have traveled since the pandemic (35%) are more likely to be opposed to vaccine passports compared to those that have not traveled since the pandemic (25%).

Looking at Expedia lodging data, we also found plenty of people will be traveling stateside for the summer and staying near outdoor activities. Here are some trending U.S. destinations with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy nature:

  1. Gatlinburg, TN (Great Smoky Mountains)
  2. St. George, UT (Zion National Park)
  3. Rapid City, SD (Mount Rushmore)
  4. Yellowstone National Park
  5. Lake Tahoe, CA
  6. Oregon Coast
  7. Jackson Hole, WY
  8. Grand Canyon National Park
  9. Moab, UT (Green River)
  10. Roanoke, VA (Blue Ridge Mountains)

For daily updates about the state of travel, follow us on Twitter @ExpediaGroup, and on LinkedIn:

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