Continued Gas Price Declines Motivate Consumers to Travel

According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travellers, the recent downward trend in gas prices translates into improving consumer confidence toward future travel.

Only 27% of travellers said gas prices would greatly impact their decision to travel in the next six months, down dramatically from the 43% of travellers who expressed the same sentiment two months ago.

Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International, observed that: “With the impact of both COVID-19 and fuel prices in decline, the outlook for fall and holiday travel is certainly improving. But if we have learned anything during this pandemic era, the travel industry will have to remain nimble and adjust quickly to any new threats or disruptions, no matter what their source is.”

According to the latest survey, more than half of travellers plan to visit friends and relatives on their fall trips, and 43% are planning to take a fall road trip.

Other top fall trip activities include visiting state and national parks, and going to museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions, as well as fall colour tours.

Some of the key takeaways include

  • Clearly, the ongoing drop in fuel prices is really improving Travel Sentiment in regards to all the finance and travel spend areas we capture.
  • While obviously having a much-reduced impact on travel, the pandemic is still clearly in the back of the minds of many travellers as the key sentiment indicators around them have really plateaued and not declined since the Spring. Likely a result of the virulence of new variants regularly emerging.
  • Fall activities among travellers this year appear to be balancing out back to a more similar pattern like one would have expected pre-pandemic.

The key survey points that support these takeaways include:

  • Demand is not waning as we head into the fall season, with 90% of American travellers still reporting plans to go somewhere within the next six months.
  • Concerns about one’s own personal finances greatly impacting their decision to travel has dropped a significant 8 points (from 31% to 23%) in just two months.
  • Similarly, concerns about gas prices greatly impacting one’s decision to travel have dropped a tremendous 16 points since July (from 43% to 27%).
  • The economy tops the list of biggest causes of hesitation to travel with 61% reporting inflation; 38% COVID-19; 34% flight delays/cancellations; and only 22% reporting no hesitations whatsoever about travelling at this time.
  • Traveller Sentiment towards COVID-19 continues to plateau rather than diminish: 19% still saying it will greatly impact their decision to travel; 41% still changing plans as a result; and the most telling plateau of still only four out of ten travellers (41%) saying the pandemic no longer influences their decision — we still can’t seem to get to that majority yet.
  • Top of the list of fall activities travellers plan to engage in this fall are:  Visiting friends and relatives (56%), taking a road trip (43%), and visiting national/state parks 28%.

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