In its latest tracking study of American travellers, Longwoods International found that the percentage of travellers who report that rising gas prices will “greatly impact” their travel in the next six months jumped from 29% on March 2 to 38% on March 16.
A third of travellers now say they will reduce the number of trips they will take, and a similar percentage say they are choosing destinations closer to home.
In contrast, only 21% of travellers say COVID-19 will greatly impact their travel in the next six months, near the lowest level since the pandemic began two years ago.
Amir Eylon, president and CEO of Longwoods International, observed that: “With the average cost of gas in the U.S. above $4.25 per gallon, the travel patterns for spring/summer travel season may be different than originally expected as folks may alter how they travel and spend in order to stay within their budget.”
Eylon also pointed out that: “The push-pull of pandemic versus gas prices will require the tourism industry to be nimble as demand fluctuates and travel costs weigh on consumers who are paying significantly more at the pump.”
On the other hand, concerns about COVID-19 continue to fade, with 73% of travellers feeling safe travelling outside their communities and 69% supporting the opening of their communities to visitors, both pandemic highs. And 73% feel safe dining in local restaurants and shopping in local stores.
Key findings of the tracking study include:
- 38% of American travellers now say that rising gas prices will greatly impact their decision to travel in the next six months. (Up 9 points from 29% in just the past two weeks)
- A total of 63% of American travellers now say that rising gas prices will either impact or greatly impact their decision to travel in the next six months. (Up three points in two weeks)
- Despite this concern, pent up demand to travel remains near pandemic-high levels, with 90% of American travellers saying they have plans to go somewhere in the next six months.
- When asked how those gas prices were impacting their travel plans, it is clear that Americans still very much intend to travel and would rather readjust their planned spending in to meet their budget, rather than cancel the trips they have already planned. In fact, only 7% indicate that they are cancelling trips. This is a pattern we have seen during previous surges in the price of gas. Bottom Line — Folks will still travel … it is how they spend on travel that is most impacted.
- So how will they adjust their travel spend? 34% will reduce the overall number of trips they will take; 33% will choose destinations closer to home; 27% will reduce the amount they spend on retail purchases; 26% will reduce the amount they spend on entertainment & recreation; 19% will reduce the amount they spend on food & beverage; 16% will reduce the amount they spend on lodging; and 16% will choose to drive instead of fly. All initially similar patterns of behaviour seen in the past gas spikes.
- That being said, one in five (21%) say gas prices are not currently impacting their travel plans.
- As for COVID-19, we continue on the path to shift from pandemic to endemic travel as 38% of American travellers now say the pandemic no longer impacts their travel plans. (Up fourteen points from 24% since the beginning of the year)
- Road trips continue to remain popular. 95% of those with travel plans over the next year include a road trip.
- The most important factors in deciding where to visit on a road trip include: Destinations with friends and family (62%), places near the water (40%), and the availability of local and unique places to eat and shop (35%).
Go to https://longwoods-intl.com/covid-19 for more.