Today's Takeaways
From SCT's director of marketing systems & insights, Ariane Hiltebrand
This week’s traveler sentiment update from Destination Analysts shows two important developments:

1. Travel sentiment and trip plans for near-term and holiday season travel are still declining due to the worsening news about rising COVID cases.

2. The travel outlook for 2021 soared after the Pfizer vaccine announcement.

Focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel, now is the time to continue the current strategies to make it through the difficult weeks ahead and to simultaneously start developing flexible marketing plans to welcome travelers back to the destination in 2021. The pent-up demand wave is coming, we just don’t know exactly in which month yet.

We recommend registering for this free webinar by Miles Partnership and Phocuswright to learn about future trends: The Years Ahead: A Post-Pandemic Look at the Future of Tourism.
Destination Analysts Key Findings to Know
From Destination Analysts' Travel Sentiment Report
  • As daily cases exceeded 180,000 in the last few days, Americans’ concerns about contracting COVID-19 rose right alongside. 60.7% believes the pandemic will be getting worse in the next month; just 14.3% feels it will get better.

  • The trajectory of the pandemic continues to depress how Americans feel about travel for the near-term, with excitement levels for taking a potential getaway in the next month and openness to travel inspiration declining, while loss of interest in travel for the time being and guilt traveling increase.

  • This latest surge in COVID-19 cases has resulted in actual trip cancellations and postponements (47.4%), as well as the loss of trips that may have come to fruition if the pandemic was on a better course. Now 62.8% express that what’s happening with the pandemic has made them less likely to travel in the next 3 months.

  • While feelings about travel in the short-term may be depressed, there continue to be positive indicators for travel’s future. The perception of travel and leisure activities as unsafe has not gone back up to peak levels recorded in July and April. Americans’ travel state-of-mind remained steadfast.

  • In total, 23.1% of American travelers have taken a trip by air during the pandemic and 58.1% have taken a road trip. Nearly three-in-ten say they plan to take a holiday season-related trip. In addition, nearly 80% have at least tentative trip plans for some time in the next year.

  • Over 60% of American travelers said Pfizer’s announcement that their experimental vaccine is likely more than 90 percent effective at preventing the Coronavirus disease made them more or much more optimistic that they can travel safely in 2021. For the nearly half of American travelers who say they would feel guilty traveling right now, two-thirds of this group says an effective vaccine would assuage this guilt.

  • We are reminded this week about the positivity of travel on human culture. Nearly half of American travelers say they are likely to support minority-owned businesses on their next trip, and over half are likely to support businesses that they believe make a positive societal impact wherever their travels take them next.
Website Insights for
During the period of Nov 6-12, website traffic was up 4% compared to the previous week. The top content that people were engaging with on the website was: Life Opens Up fall campaign page, followed by the coronavirus page (this shows a newly heightened demand for health and safety information and business details). Additionally, editorials about Thanksgiving, Bodega Bay, pumpkins, fall walks, crab season, and wineries performed well. Our blog saw traffic for wineries open thanksgiving, 5 new wine tastings, what to expect after the fires, and what to expect when visiting Sonoma Wine Country.

San Francisco represents 14% of the total traffic this past week. Los Angeles is still #3, San José is still #4, Sacramento is still #6, Oakland is still #7. We see 4 out-of-state cities in the top 25: New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas.
J.D. Power Research on COVID Travel Concerns

According to a study by J.D. Power, air travel remains the biggest concern among travelers, with 37% of respondents most concerned about catching COVID-19 from fellow passengers. Only 6% of respondents were concerned about contracting the coronavirus while at their destination. And merely 2% held virus concerns about hotels. 
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
STR Monthly Percent Change for Sonoma County
COVID Relief Now Coalition Survey
Earlier this week in our Tourism Industry News & Resources communication, we told you about the U.S. Travel Association’s COVID Relief Now Coalition survey designed to capture data regarding COVID impacts to businesses and organizations.

Today is the last day to participate in the survey. We encourage your involvement in this effort since the information collected will be used to influence congressional leaders on the importance of passing much needed additional economic relief legislation.

Please consider taking a few moments to answer the survey here. Thank you.