The impact that COVID-19 has had on our daily lives caused the past year to be one of the hardest ever to endure. Maintaining distance and staying home has become part of the new normal. While tough days may still be ahead, travelers are finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the roll-out of vaccines and development of other break-through medical advances.
New research from Booking.com reveals that even after months of restrictions our appetite to explore the world remains undiminished. Thanks to the unwavering commitment of the science and medical communities, almost three-quarters (71%*) of Americans say that the beginning distribution stage of COVID-19 vaccines makes them feel more hopeful and optimistic about traveling in 2021. As we look to a better future igniting and reimagining travel, with hope on the horizon, Booking.com today announced that the company will provide $50 post-stay promotional travel credits to Americans ready to begin exploring – whether close to home or venturing further.
Booking.com’s research confirms the vital role travel can have in our lives and its power to uplift spirits: with 61%* of Americans saying they have realized travel is critical to their emotional well-being and 60%* saying they have re-evaluated the importance of travel in their life as being more important now than before the pandemic started. To help Americans on their journey back to travel, as it is safe to do so, any American can activate Booking.com’s $50 post-stay promotional travel credit in the Booking.com app by April 30, 2021, then book a stay in the app by May 31, 2021 and complete that stay by December 31, 2021. After that stay, the $50 promotional travel credit will be automatically deposited into a customer’s Booking.com account, redeemable for one year for a future trip on select properties. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com’s travel credits support Americans’ desire to rediscover the places, people, cultures and experiences they love and have been missing, whenever they are ready, and support properties and destinations in beginning to welcome back the guests they have been missing given the toll the pandemic has taken on the travel industry.
“We’ve seen, firsthand, the resilience, ingenuity, and empathy of the diverse populace of the American people, who are increasingly determined to progress and move towards a better, brighter future healing together,” said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking.com. “We know recovery will take time, and we know it will take the entire industry working together to get travel back on its feet, so we hope these promotional credits can be one small piece of support for the travel industry. As we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we encourage all those across the travel category as well as state, local, and federal governments to come together and implement solutions to revive and support travel, helping to make it easier to connect Americans to the destinations and properties they have been missing, when the time is right.”
Booking.com is committed to working with governments on measures to help the industry recover and supports government financial subsidies to help the industry, something that two-thirds (66%*) of Americans agree with and half (49%*) of Americans say they don’t think the industry will survive without. More than two-fifths (42%*) of Americans feel the government has provided clear and consistent travel guidance; however, Americans are still looking for governments to do more in assisting with wider access to pre-travel COVID-19 testing (71%*) and stronger collaboration with travel associations and providers to set more consistent standards and prevent confusion when it comes to travel advice and rules (70%*). Additionally, while 74%** of Booking.com’s accommodation partners in the U.S. say that are cautiously optimistic about the future of their business, they share travelers’ mindset that the industry needs support, more than half (60%**) would like to see governments do more in the future to support the travel industry during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
American travelers themselves are also interested in personally helping to support the travel industry, with the top actions they’d like to take being: booking trips throughout 2021 (27%*), booking independent hotels / accommodations (26%*), choosing less frequented destinations (24%*) and booking accommodations in or near their hometown for a staycation (20%*).
Americans still plan to stick with the familiar and be cautiously optimistic given the impact COVID-19 has had on travel. 69%* said they prefer to travel closer to home for the foreseeable future and 54%* said they would opt for lots or shorter trips vs. long breaks (46%*). That said, some travelers are willing to do whatever it takes if it meant they could visit wherever they wanted, with 57%* saying they would accept they could only travel if they provided proof they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19, 65%* providing a negative COVID-19 test before traveling and 51%* downloading an app for COVID-19 contact tracing.