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Travel Safety Barometer: Encouraging signs for summer travel

Travel Safety Barometer: Encouraging signs for summer travel
Written by Harry S. Johnson

The results from Wave 5 of Travel Safety Barometer report, a sentiment tracking study that measures American travelers’ perceptions of how safe it is to engage in specific travel behaviors on a scale of 0 (Extremely Unsafe) to 100 (Extremely Safe), were announced today. The latest findings reveal travelers’ perceptions of safety are rising across all sectors, from domestic and international travel to lodging, cruising, dining and entertainment, transportation and business travel.

With all states in the U.S. currently in some phase of reopening and international destinations also reopening, these milestones in COVID-19 recovery appear to be having a positive impact on how travelers feel. Confidence in the safety of domestic travel overall experienced a 10-point jump, scoring just 34 in May and rising to 44 in June.  International travel experienced a similar 10-point increase, but its overall score is still relatively low at 32. Transportation is on an upswing, with the Transportation Safety Barometer going from 56 to 60.

Travelers’ Confidence in Dining and Entertainment Activities Rises

Travelers reported feeling increasingly safe participating in all of the activities included in the survey, which includes going to a park, dining at a restaurant, and attending sporting events (indoors and outdoors) as well as outdoor festivals. Outdoor activities continue to be considered much safer than indoor experiences, with going to the beach at the top with a safety score of 50.

Lodging Safety Score Steadily Improving

After several weeks of stagnation, travelers’ perceptions of lodging safety saw a sharp rise, with the Lodging Safety Barometer increasing from 35 to 44 over the last month.  This correlates with most major hotel brands starting to promote stringent new hygiene protocols for the wellness of guests and employees. The safety scores for staying in a hotel or resort and staying in a vacation rental home are neck and neck.

Perceptions of Domestic Air Travel Safety Have Increased 20% Since May

While most respondents still believe traveling by car is the safest form of travel (score of 74), travelers are beginning to report an elevated sense of safety when traveling by other forms of transportation, including domestic air travel and train travel. Respondents ranked the safety of domestic travel at 36 points in Wave 5.

Business Travel Is Likely to Be Hindered by Several Factors in the Months and Years Ahead

While improved technology, the popularity of video conferencing platforms and the complexities of attending a crowded conference may have corporate travelers reconsidering the need to travel, the increases in business travel metrics in the June results are quite encouraging. Wave 5 detected a 7-point jump amongst travelers who perceive business travel to be safe, going from a score of 29 to 36.

The Travel Safety Barometer survey is conducted monthly among 1,200 U.S. residents who have taken an overnight trip for either business or leisure in the past 12 months. Wave 4 of the survey was conducted May 8, 2020, and Wave 5 was conducted June 9, 2020.