Togetherness — The Next Travel Destination

A new survey from IHG Hotels & Resorts reveals just how much people are longing for human connection; longing to be with their loved ones; and longing to make new memories.

IHG reports that close to 60% of survey respondents said they cancelled up to four trips (leisure and business) last year.

More than half the travellers surveyed said they have now rebooked cancelled trips or plan to rebook them, with family vacations and visiting loved ones topping travel wish lists for 2021.

And while the pandemic isn’t over, the roll-out of vaccines is igniting hope and optimism, as respondents across all age groups, 18 to 55-plus, say spending time with family and friends is a primary motivator for travel this year.

So, when the world opens up, what are people going to do? Well, the IHG survey found that:

  • One in five respondents said they plan to make up for the lack of travel in 2020 by going on more trips in 2021.
  • One in five people overall said they hope to travel to a place on their bucket list in 2021, with that being true for one in three travelers aged 18 to 24.
  • Speaking of younger travellers, this age group was five times more likely to say volunteering for a community in need was a primary motivator for travel.
  • One in three surveyed said going to restaurants and trying new foods has the most positive impact on their vacations.
  • Over a third of all those surveyed, including 50% of those 55 and older, said they plan to hold off traveling until the COVID-19 vaccine is more widely available.

Claire Bennett, chief customer officer, IHG Hotels & Resorts, observed that: “It’s often said that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, and our survey results prove that people are hungry for those rich experiences again.”

“But,” Bennett continued, “the world has changed, and travel decisions must be made more thoughtfully. As we look ahead, we’ve all had a lot of time to think about what travel means to us, what trips are most important, and how we want to reconnect with loved ones.”

And Bennett added that whether it’s that longed-for family beach vacation, a weekend getaway with friends, your first in-person business meeting, or a special anniversary trip – “our family of 16 brands is ready to help open up the world when the time is right and welcome travelers back with confidence, as we embark on the next chapter of travel.”

As for business travel, the IHG survey reported that:

  • One in three workers globally, and 40% in the U.S., stated the lack of business travel in 2020 demotivated them.
  • 40%  of those who travel for business said they miss face-to-face meetings.
  • More than half of respondents said business travel allows them to “create meaningful relationships with colleagues, customers, and/or clients.”
  • Nearly 45% shared that business travel improves their working mood and makes them more motivated.

Other findings in the IHG survey include:

  • While on vacation, the majority of Americans said travelling with loved ones, creating new memories, and having quality time with others had the most positive impact on their mood, while most Australians said it was sightseeing and for U.K. travelers, it was chasing sunshine.
  • When it comes to what respondents travelling for work miss the most, one in three said it was “sleeping in a comfy hotel bed” and one in four said “room service.”
  • Cabin fever kills the romance as one in four of respondents age 45-plus said they look forward to intimacy while on vacation.

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