Generation X Travelers To Lead Travel Industry’s Pandemic Recovery In 2021: Omnitrak
Strategic Research Firm analyzes Americans’ increasing preference for auto travel, other trends in a new report.
As the U.S. travel industry begins its long recovery from the pandemic-driven disruptions of 2020, Generation X—ages 35-54—will lead the resurgence, according to Omnitrak’s TravelTrak America™, one of the world’s largest profiling programs that survey 9,500 U.S. households every month.
Omnitrak, a leading strategic research firm, has a strong presence in the consumer, travel and retail sectors in North America and Asia.
Among the key findings in Omnitrak Compass™, a new report analyzing historic and current monthly travel survey data from TravelTrak America™:
1. Pre-pandemic data for 2018-2019 show “Active Gen X™” travelers—typically in the workforce, engaged in family, community and social activities—tend to spend more per trip and travel in larger groups than Baby Boomers or Millennials (ages 18-34).
2. While Baby Boomers (born 1946 to mid-1960s) report greater financial stability and remain interested in travel, they remain most concerned about travel safety.
3. Drive vs. Fly: Pre-pandemic, Americans of all age groups opted to drive rather than fly by a factor of five to one. TravelTrakAmerica™ data show this gap is expected to widen further in 2021 as drive travel demand recovers significantly faster than air travel demand.
4. COVID-19 vaccine availability remains key, with active travelers most likely to be among the “ASAP Vaccinators™”. Among those who have traveled within the last year, more than four out of 10 (43 percent) surveyed in January 2021 said they plan to get the vaccine as soon as it is readily available. Of these “ASAP Vaccinators™,” nearly half (45 percent) plan to take a leisure trip by car in the coming year.
5. Money Matters: By Q4 2020, Millennials reported the greatest weakening of their financial conditions, with 45 percent saying they were less able to take a leisure trip vs. a year earlier. About 33 percent of Generation X said they were less able to travel, compared to 30 percent of Baby Boomers.
6. Leisure travelers will lead the way, with business travel lagging considerably. Recovery in business travel to prior levels is not expected until 2024.
Omnitrak Compass™ provides an overview of 2020, the industry’s “Lost Year” in which U.S. travelers responded to the pandemic initially with denial, then with panic and acceptance. Domestic travelers appeared ready to continue normal travel patterns in March 2020; by May 2020, panic set in and the number of travelers with near-term travel plans dropped to 40 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2020, early signs of revived trip planning and interest in travel glimmered on the horizon.
“Even with 30-plus years of experience in travel data and analysis, we’re finding surprises and interesting trends among U.S. travelers as the industry works its way through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris Kam, Omnitrak’s President and Chief Operating Officer and the lead researcher of Omnitrak Compass™.
“TravelTrak America is the only program that integrates travel profiles with travel attitudes, future travel intentions and travel sentiment in a single data set. We will continue to analyze these recovery trends through our monthly surveys, and share data-driven insights as the industry works through the global effects of the pandemic.”
Patricia M. Loui, Omnitrak Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, said, “With more than 1 million traveler interviews conducted by Omnitrak in the last four years, our research gives clients unique insights into U.S. travelers’ plans, priorities and attitudes. We’re focused on providing thoughtful, timely analysis to some of the U.S.’ largest travel destination markets and other industry clients as they recover from the unprecedented economic, business, and social disruptions of 2020.”