After climbing upward for a year and a half, Americans’ enthusiasm for travel appears dampened this holiday season. As pandemic concerns fade, financial woes and widely reported issues with flight delays and cancellations have more people deciding to stay home. Intent to travel between Thanksgiving and midJanuary is down 26% compared to a year ago. Just under a third of Americans plan to travel over the holidays, taking an average of two trips. Those traveling cite the need to reconnect with friends and family as most important. And with higher-income Americans making up a big portion of the traveling public this season, travel budgets are strong.
International travel intent is up significantly. With health concerns on the decline, and most destinations doing away with COVID-19 travel restrictions, 17% of travelers plan to fly overseas this holiday season, up from 10% in 2021. But demand may still be dampened by high airfares as well as concerns about delays and cancellations.
This second edition of Deloitte’s holiday travel survey also reveals deeper insights on developing travel trends. Young travelers continue to lead the pack. Boomers, who had begun to return to the fold, are showing hesitancy again. Finally, flexible work arrangements continue to be a boon to travel, expanding the number of days many Americans spend away from home. Overall, travelers are adding an average of six days of travel across the season due to the ability to work remotely.
As the travel industry prepares for a weaker holiday season in 2022, the best opportunities likely lie in making the most out of serving those who do decide to venture out. As travelers look to reconnect with family and friends, airlines and hotels should be looking to reestablish trust and high service standards