2021 Travel Trend: Vaxications
What do you get when you take eager travelers and give them the coronavirus vaccine? A new travel trend: VAXICATIONS! These celebratory trips stem from pent-up demand for travel and the increased feelings of safety and security brought on by getting the vaccine. As a result, we’re seeing a burst of travel and increased bookings for tour operators. Here’s what you need to know about this mini travel trend and the outlook on similar trips as more and more people get vaccinated.
Note: We’re so excited about people getting vaccinated and starting to travel again. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the vaccines are not 100% effective and travelers still need to wear masks, practice social distancing, and follow all travel guidelines. Safe traveling!
Loosening Lockdowns Ease The Way
After being in lockdown for a full year, it comes as no surprise that recently vaccinated people are itching to get out of their homes and take a post-vaccine vacation, especially if they had to cancel bucket-list trips last year. According to Bloomberg, 689 million doses have been administered across 153 countries (as of April, 7 2021), a number that is set to keep growing.
Travel agents have seen an increase in travel inquiries, and tour operators like Natural Habitat Adventures have experienced a jump in bookings. For example, Natural Habitat Adventures’ booking rates hovered around 35% to 45% in 2020, but spiked to nearly 80% between January and March (Bloomberg).
What’s even more exciting about seeing numbers like these? Travelers cite being fully vaccinated as their reason for booking vacations!
Encouraging Economic Signs Boost Consumer Confidence
As the world continues to open up and more and more businesses become not only operational but profitable economic circumstances across the board are looking up as we head into the second quarter of 2021. For many who canceled trips and vacations in 2020 and are emerging from the pandemic (relatively) financially unscathed, there may also be funds still set aside for post-vaccine travel. And while 2020 was an incredibly challenging time for everyone, Americans are benefiting from the third round of economic stimulus checks issued by the government and are now more willing and able to open their wallets to book travel and experiences.
Pro tip: Private tours and deluxe experiences will likely be the most attractive offerings for vaxicationers – after all, the vaccine does not completely protect against COVID-19, and the CDC still recommends that vaccinated individuals wear masks and practice social distancing.
Now is the time to dust off your private tour offerings and reinvigorate your marketing efforts for this type of tour or activity.
Staying Safe Remains Top Of Mind
Even for vaccinated travelers, traveling during a global pandemic still has its challenges, and this will likely be the case until we reach herd immunity.
Although travel is certainly loosening, activities like flying to other countries or spending time in busy indoor locations may not yet be possible. Many borders worldwide remain closed, with quarantine rules in effect that still apply to vaccinated people. There’s also the worry of virus variants, which may prevent even vaccinated travelers from crowding indoors or planning anything too far from home.
Vaccinated or not, most travelers still want to see your health and safety policies clearly stated on your website and your guests’ comfort levels increase when these measures are adhered to.
Local Luxury Boosts Business
Because of the concerns around barriers to travel, many vaxicationers are opting to stay close to home. The year 2020 saw the return of the road trip, allowing people to get out of town and enjoy outdoor activities. Experiences like horseback riding, nature tours, boat rides, and ATV rentals will continue to be popular activities for vaccinated travelers. Similarly, less crowded destinations and places with outdoor attractions like beaches and mountains, are higher on people’s travel lists than big cities.
Vaccinated travelers are also opting for more remote or private accommodations and experiences. Since road trips tend to keep people closer to home, focusing your efforts on local SEO and marketing will be worthwhile to capture revenue from vaxications.
Spring Fever Takes Hold
Travelers (especially millennials!) are planning spring getaways. According to a new Tripadvisor survey:
- 50% of U.S. respondents are planning a trip between March and May of this year
Although millennials are some of the last people scheduled to get their vaccines, they’re also the most optimistic when it comes to returning to travel:
- 58% of millennial respondents to the Tripadvisor survey are planning a trip this spring
- 56% of millennials think they will be better off financially in the next 12 months than they are today
Read more about millennial travel habits and appealing to this generation in our marketing to millennials and Gen Z guide.
Riding the Road to Recovery
The vaccine rollout has undoubtedly increased confidence in taking bigger trips, spending a bit more money, and venturing farther from home than we have in a year.
34% of Americans are searching for international destinations this spring (Tripadvisor), sparking our hope that travel is slowly returning to pre-COVID levels. For now, let’s focus your efforts on appealing to local bookers and start preparing for a busy summer season!