In a new Amex Trendex report, American Express found that U.S. consumers are seriously missing travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic — so much so that it's begun taking a real emotional toll on them.
Nearly half of those surveyed (48%) reported that the inability to travel at present is causing them to feel anxious and stressed, and three out of four respondents (78%) cited travel as one of the activities that they're most yearning for.
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With summer drawing to an end and no end to COVID-19 in sight, Americans nonetheless remain reluctant to take up traveling again, with only 10% of those surveyed saying they plan to travel over Labor Day weekend. Only one in five (20%) said they're currently planning to travel for Thanksgiving.
In terms of their considerations when planning future travel, some key consumer insights also emerged from the study:
_ When restrictions are finally lifted and it's actually considered safe to travel again, 67% said that they'd still prefer to travel with members of their households, with whom they've been cooped up at home for several months, to going by themselves (10%).
• While four in five consumers prefer to make their reservations online themselves, they also want direct access to speak with a real person who can help as needed.
• Social distancing concerns also prevail, with six in 10 of respondents saying they'd pay more to travel on a plane or train that leaves every other seat open.
• 25% of those surveyed cited increased flexibility, in terms of booking changes and refunds, as the most important factor in planning future travel, followed by the 19% who pointed to cleanliness standards as their foremost concern.
• Over half (57 percent) said they would be willing to take an extended-stay trip and live elsewhere for three months if offered economic and health incentives, with half of those expressing the desire to do so for a whole year or more.
Based on its U.S. Card Member booking data, American Express Travel observed similar trends to what was reported in the survey:
• Card Members continue to stay closer to home when traveling. More than half (52 percent) of hotel bookings made in July were within Card Members' home state, or out of state in nearby regions, as compared to 33% in July 2019.
• From the start of June through the beginning of July, 90% of lodging reservations and 79% of air travel bookings were domestic.
• Last-minute bookings are becoming the norm. Two-thirds (62 percent) of hotel bookings were made less than two weeks ahead of travel, compared to 48% during the same period last year.
• From the first week of July through the beginning of August, 85% of hotel bookings and 84% of domestic flight reservations were made for travel within the next 30 days.