Highlights from survey of COVID-19 impact on travel demand for European travelers in 2020:
- 78% of European respondents are still planning to travel between June and December 2020, as long as their home bases or destinations won`t be in quarantine
- 91% of respondents have already canceled their April-May trips or will soon
- 64% said their 2020 travel budgets will be lower than expected before the coronavirus, compared with 54% three weeks earlier
In comparison with a similar survey LuggageHero conducted last month, the April results overall show an ongoing eagerness to travel, but a slightly higher degree of caution.
The unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel continue to be greatly felt throughout Europe and the world, with people of course altering their current travel plans.
But even as stay-in-place restrictions have been added or strengthened around the country, many travelers still remain optimistic about hitting the road again later this year, according to a new survey by LuggageHero, a short-term luggage storage provider in 40 European and North American cities.The customer survey was conducted from April 5-9, 2020, via online forms and ensured gender and age balance, as well as geographical representation.
Nearly 60% had a trip planned for April or May and most of them (91%) had already canceled those trips or were about to. Adding to the economic impact, more than half were planning to travel with at least one other person.
In a big show of optimism, 78% said they were sticking to those plans as long as their home bases or destinations were not under a quarantine. That means that, for now, there is only a 22% impact on the travel industry from June to December.
When asked about the travel period of June to December, 54% of Europeans already had trips on their calendars, and more than two-thirds were planning to travel with at least one other person.
Change in scenery
Out of the people saying they will still travel from June to December, nearly half (44%) say they will not change their original destination. However 35% replied that they would now attempt to avoid big cities and public transportation and instead focus on parks and the outdoors.
Nearly half of the respondents were still planning to travel abroad, while 47% said they would consider replacing international travel with domestic travel in 2020.
Only 6% of European respondents said they would now not travel at all in 2020, compared with 17% in the earlier survey. Perhaps the longer would-be travelers are forced to stay indoors, the more they think about future travels.
Caution is on the increase
LuggageHero conducted a similar survey three weeks earlier. Now only 36% of participants say they are sticking to the same travel budget for 2020 that they started with before the coronavirus hit: 35% will reduce their holiday expenses up to 40%, while 29% of respondents say they will cut their budgets by more than 40%, this being a small 3% drop from the results 3 weeks ago, perhaps signifying further tightening of the belt.
Respondents to the April survey still show a great willingness to travel in the future but a slightly higher degree of caution overall. Most significantly, the previous survey showed that 46% would stick to their same travel budget. Within just 3 weeks, that number had dropped by 10%. In the matter of changing from overseas travel to domestic, the number nearly tripled from 17% in March to 47% in April. Destination decisions changed slightly, with 2% more people (from 33% to 35%) wanting to avoid urban destinations in search of places focusing on nature and the outdoors.
LuggageHero CEO Jannik Lawaetz said that overall he is heartened by the ongoing will to explore the world and seek new experiences.
“Although people, rightfully, are canceling trips in the immediate future and perhaps delaying others, it’s clear that our customers are still committed to traveling,” he said. “We believe that demand will come back stronger than ever as soon as it’s safe to travel. Personally, I can’t wait.”
Meanwhile, Lawaetz said, the travel industry overall is looking at ways to make their services more valuable and convenient to travelers in the future, while also keeping an eye on safety and hygiene.
“The industry is now busy looking at how we can adapt to what we believe will be a new way of traveling,” he said. “That will likely mean things like extra hygiene practices, contactless payment, increased online interaction and any other approaches that can turn this crisis into an opportunity for safer and more enjoyable travel for us all. For our part, my team at LuggageHero is poised to implement new practices that will increase our customers’ enjoyment, savings and safety.”