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Sounds Like a Plan

How the act of planning a trip can help revitalize the travel industry
Surfer on a wave
There is no doubt the pandemic has significantly affected travel sentiment—but that hasn’t stopped Americans from dreaming of their next trip.

A mid-March survey conducted by Destinations Analysts, a U.S.-based research firm, found 73.8% of American travelers have done some travel planning and dreaming. This could be welcome news for the U.S. travel industry, who is still reeling from the drastic declines in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Planning: A Timeless Message

For several years, U.S. Travel Association has studied the correlation between planning and travel, particularly in the context of vacation usage.

Research has found that those who plan more are more likely to take their time off—and use that time to travel,” says U.S. Travel president and CEO Roger Dow. “Seeing plans turn into trips would be extremely valuable as we look to safely restart travel and build back our industry.”

... That Could Have a Timely Impact

Over the past year, the idea of travel planning has played an increased role in consumer messaging by U.S. travel companies and destinations that have been navigating lockdowns and other travel restrictions. The Let’s Go There campaign, spearheaded by a group of 75+ travel brands and destinations who are working together to help address declines related to the pandemic, carried a simple message throughout the fall and winter months of 2020: make plans to travel, when you’re ready.


of American travelers plan to take a trip within the next three months


of international travelers are prioritizing a trip abroad as their top budget priority

Let's Go A Step Further

In response to the rollout of vaccines, confidence has increased, with many looking to take a trip in the months ahead. The previously mentioned study by Destination Analysts found that, from May through October, over 20% of Americans reported having at least tentative trip plans.

Recognizing this shift, the U.S. travel industry has evolved its approach from encouraging planning to encouraging booking. “We have been tracking consumer sentiment for several months and we are optimistic that travelers are ready to go from dreaming to enjoying their next getaway,” said Dow.

A Universal Activity

Global travelers have also already started planning for 2021 travel. According to research conducted by Brand USA, many countries show spikes in travel plans in July and/or December. France, Germany and the United Kingdom are more committed to the July-September time frame. 

In a recent interview with Dow, James Clarke, general manager, Travelzoo Europe (U.K.) said, “the U.K. audience… is very much engaged and excited to travel again” and that nearly 70% report wanting to stay on a longer trip internationally. The U.S. tops the list of most popular travel destinations, followed by the Caribbean, Australia and Canada.

General Manager, Travelzoo Europe (Germany), Christian Smart shared similar findings: “the desire and need for travel has not changed.” Across the globe, people are looking to indulge in wanderlust with many signs indicating travelers are making plans and are ready to take trips in 2021.