Post Coronavirus Travel is Ready to Take-Off in Early 2021

by Miles Jackson

On March 12th, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID19 was officially a pandemic. This action, individual concerns and subsequent country-imposed travel restrictions saw international travel plummet. In many markets travel fell as much as 95%. Now, it seems that post Coronavirus travel is ready to take-off in early 2021.  That’s according to the data collected by Sojern.

Sojern is a digital enterprise which collects travel search and booking information of consumers. They use that data to provide advertising solutions to their clients. They collect and analyze travel intent data from thousands of airline and hotel partners from around the world to use as the foundation of its travel insights.

This provides a unique window from which we can peer into travel demand by looking at online travelers’ path to purchase. In addition, users are also able to compare different regions to see when travel is likely to recover in each market.

I took a look at some of the data to draw some conclusions about the strength of future travel in various markets.

Interactive Dashboard of Travel Trends

Sojern has launched a new interactive dashboard providing real-time COVID-19 travel insights that will empower travel marketers to forecast travel demand and make informed decisions about market recovery.

The dashboard, updated daily provides market-level details on future searching and booking trends indexed to pre-COVID19 levels to provide visibility into timing for a recovery in specific destinations.

Travel is Ready to Take-Off in Early 2021 Computer Searches

Searches for Travel Indicate Surge in Early 2021

Consumer Searches UpTick for Post-Coronavirus Travel 2021

Following the WHO declaring that COVID-19 was officially a pandemic, from March 12 onwards, Asia-Pacific was seen to have a 40 per cent decrease in search volume. That number only grew deeper as the situation worsened. Following which, the individual countries within the region saw a further decrease in search intent as stricter travel restrictions came into play.

Now, searches for travel have increased and have shown a significant increase for the first quarter of 2021.

Asia-Pacific Sees Largest Gains

Early 2021 East Asia Searches

Searches for East Asia, Oceania and Southeast Asia show significant interest in early 2021 (Source: Sojern)

Recent data collected share insights on COVID19’s travel impact in Asia-Pacific destinations show signs of positive momentum in many destination markets. Extrapolating this should mean we can expect an uptick in travel in February 2021.

There is a growing of searches for travel to Europe, Asia-Pacific and Australia as the new search activities indicate. Asia-Pacific demonstrates the largest percentage increase. This area includes East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Logically, we would expect this as it was deeply depressed following the WHO announcement in March.

Europe shows a surge in travel searches beginning in March 2021, lagging the Asia-Pacific region.

What Are Your Travel Plans?

Have you begun to look at travel either later this year or early in 2021? Many airlines are offering great deals right now to get passengers back on a plane. One example is American Airlines’ promotional offer of 500 bonus miles per flight.

If you have any travel coming up in the near future, you need to read our guide on “The New Normal? Airline Personal Protection Travel Requirements.”

If you are concerned about your airline or hotel status, check out PointMe contributor Shelli’s article Coronavirus: What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points?

RELATED POST: Redeem AmEx Membership Rewards for Your Mileage Run

The Upshot

Most readers have probably had at least one trip cancelled or postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic. The travel industry has been hit the hardest. It is hard to judge on a personal basis of when it’s safe to travel again. There is a pent up demand.  Southwest’s CEO says air travel should take off soon. Although I don’t quite agree with that, there are more people searching for travel. At the same time I have offered 7 ways Coronavirus may change future air travel.

As would be expected, the numbers of active searches and bookings are still lower than last year’s volume. However, it is a positive sign for the travel industry that travelers are dreaming of and planning their next trip. With air travel down more than 90% from a year ago, it is encouraging to hear there’s potentially a light at the end of this tunnel.

The data shows more people are looking at destinations; perhaps post-Coronavirus travel is ready to take-off in early 2021.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Richard May 15, 2020 - 11:27 am

Very interesting data, thank you for sharing it. Any good news is a positive development. The one caveat, we’re still down more than half of search volume/interest. We’re all itching to get back out again, especially when governments have a more standardized method of processing foreign arrivals.

Miles Jackson May 15, 2020 - 7:51 pm

Yes, the numbers are about 50% of previous interest and searches. But that’s a huge increase from a near standstill in global travel. The numbers, as I mentioned, for Europe look very strong beginning in March 2021. There’s interest and that supplies hope for the industry.
Future international travel restrictions is one of the things I talk about in my article on how Coronavirus will change future travel.
Thank you for you comments and for reading!


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