Today's Takeaways
From SCT's director of marketing systems & insights, Ariane Hiltebrand
This week’s traveler sentiment update by Destination Analysts shows that the new fall surge in COVID cases across the U.S. and in Europe is negatively impacting American travelers’ outlook and confidence. However, travel readiness state-of-mind remains stable at 54.6% indicating that travelers are learning to live with the pandemic. They highly value the benefits of travel for their overall wellbeing and stress management. Future travel priorities are shifting towards domestic travel, outdoor recreation, and spending time with family.
Future Travel Priorities for the Next Two Years
As of November 1 From Destination Analysts
Destination Analysts Key Findings to Know
From Destination Analysts' Travel Sentiment Report
  • American travelers have been increasingly prioritizing relaxation as a lifestyle priority. Perhaps in part to this, the average level of daily stress Americans have been feeling has been on the decline since the summer.

  • Virus anxiety is uneven across the country—now highest in the Northeast and Southern regions, among Gen X, urban residents and those feeling not yet ready to travel.

  • American travelers are somewhat split on maintaining their optimism; however, they largely see the immediate future as difficult. This week 60.9% expect the pandemic situation to get worse in the United States in the next month, up over 5% in one week.

  • The worsening feelings about the pandemic continue to negatively impact sentiment towards travel in the near-term. Excitement levels about taking a getaway in the next month, openness to travel inspiration, and confidence they can travel safely decreased, while perceptions of travel activities as unsafe again increased.

  • These feelings extend into greater emotional depth. Fully half agree that traveling right now feels irresponsible. Over 40% feel, or would feel, guilty traveling right now.

  • The declining sentiment towards travel has affected behavior, as well, including for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. While 13.6% definitively say they will travel for Thanksgiving this year–down slightly from 15.8% the week of August 17th, those that felt uncertain in August have largely moved to “no” for Thanksgiving trips.

  • Of those traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, nearly 80% describe this as trips taken primarily to spend time with friends and family in their homes. The mean distance traveled will be 533 miles, and the average reported trip length will be 4.3 days.

  • However, given travel’s importance to Americans, it continues. This week, fewer agree that they have lost their interest in/taste for traveling for the time being. Americans travel readiness state-of-mind remained stable (54.6%), as did the proportion that say they will engage in travel avoidance until the coronavirus situation is more resolved (54.7%). There is also a declining need for a vaccine to travel (39.5%).

  • As to how the pandemic has shifted priorities and the way this will potentially impact travel in the longer term, the most agreement was shared that they would be traveling more domestically/seeing the United States and traveling more with family in the next 2 years.
Website Insights for
During the period of Oct 23-29, the top content that people were engaging with on the website was: Life Opens Up fall campaign page, hotel and lodging pages, the coronavirus page and editorial about Halloween, pumpkins, Bodega Bay, fall colors, wineries, restaurants, hiking, nature parks, and glamping itineraries with West County towns and parks. Our blog saw traffic for what to expect after the fires, thanksgiving, outdoor movies, and black owned businesses.

In terms of city geo locations for website visitors we see our key drive markets on top of the list: San Francisco represents 15% of the total traffic this past week. Los Angeles is still #3, San José is still #4, Oakland moved up to #6, Sacramento dropped to #7. We see 4 out-of-state cities in the top 25: New York, Chicago, Seattle and Denver.
STR Tracking for Sonoma County
Things to Note:

  • STR is comparing “Weekly Year Over Year.”
  • 52 of the county’s 113 hotels report to STR.
  • The average from other destinations includes: Napa, Palm Springs, Monterey, South Lake Tahoe, and Vallejo/Napa Valley.
  • For more information on how data is calculated due to hotel closures, please refer to this document.
Smith Travel Research (STR) is the recognized leader in hospitality industry benchmarking around the globe. Powered by the world's largest hotel data sample, they deliver confidential data, accurate and actionable insights, and comprehensive solutions to empower decisions. Discover how STR collects data, how it is calculated, and a glossary of terms, by clicking here