Highlights from the LuggageHero May survey of COVID-19 impact on travel demand for European travelers.
In comparison with similar surveys LuggageHero conducted in March and in April, the May results confirm travelers’ intentions to switch to domestic travel in the upcoming months. It also suggests that Europeans are now less worried about their budgets than they were when the crisis started.
- 20% of European respondents are waiting until 2021 to travel abroad and an extra 6% said they will wait for a vaccine before leaving the country
- A surprising number of 60% of those who would typically travel for business said they still expect to have at least one business trip in 2020
- 60% said their 2020 travel budgets will be the same as before the pandemic or just slightly lower, compared with 51% in April
As some countries have already started relaxing the restrictions and others are planning to do this soon, people are now eager to travel after such a long indoors routine. European respondents are still optimistic about hitting the road again, and plan to start with regional destinations, 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 May 10-14, 2020, via online forms and ensured gender and age balance, as well as geographical representation.
26% of Europeans will wait until the next year or for a vaccine to travel abroad
Almost half of the participants would like to go to another country before September if the quarantine restrictions are lifted, while 26% will wait until next year – 6% of those people said that would be only on the condition that a vaccine has been made available. All in all, we can see a 23% rise in willingness to travel abroad in 2020 compared to last month's report, increasing to 70% of the European respondents.
75% will have a road trip or a city break inside the country
From May through September, at least 75% of respondents say they plan to explore their own country, either for road trips or city breaks.
More than half of European respondents are planning to travel inside the country in the summer months. Moreover, another 20% are so eager to travel they will hit the road within the first 15 days after restrictions are lifted. On the other hand, 3% said they would not leave their own city until a vaccine is available. A similar group of 3% say they will wait for the economy to return to normal before leaving their city.
Even though online meetings have become routine in the last two months, people still value face-to-face interactions, especially when it comes to professional business matters. Only 17% said they have adapted to the efficiency of the online meetings, and – against all odds – 60% believe they will have at least one business trip by the end of 2020.
More than three-quarters of survey respondents said the financial impact to their household was relatively small, from 0 to 25%. However 11% said that since the pandemic started, their monthly household income has dropped by more than 50%.
Surprisingly, travelers’ 2020 travel budget expectations look better in this month’s report compared to the previous month when LuggageHero asked the same question. In May, 42% said they expect to spend the same amount as planned earlier, and 18% will decrease their budget by only 0-20%. Comparatively, the April survey showed that 36% would stick to the same travel budget for this year, while projected decreases in spending were slightly lower. Perhaps travelers found some financial solutions or were feeling more fearful in the first phases of the quarantine.
LuggageHero CEO Jannik Lawaetz said this survey along with some forward movement in the travel sector is giving him reason to feel optimistic. That includes the reopening of several U.S states and parks, along with the European Commission’s recent announcement to encourage a slow and safe return to travel in Europe.
“Our May survey shows that fewer people are afraid to travel now compared to a month ago, so that’s a positive sign,” Lawaetz said.
Meanwhile, the tourism industry is working on several steps to make travel safer, including hygiene and distancing measures.
“Obviously, travelers should remain cautious, especially until a vaccine is found, but LuggageHero, along with hundreds of other travel-related companies is devising strategies to make travel safer, for the present and in the future.”
Possible changes include separators wherever face-to-face business is conducted, empty middle seats on modes of transportation, reserved and timed tickets and a lot more signage directing people in areas of high traffic flow.
“Just as travel and safety measures have changed significantly since the 9/11 attack nearly two decades ago, the same will happen now,” Lawaetz said. “Safety should always be our top priority.”
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.