Today's Takeaways
From SCT's director of marketing systems & insights, Ariane Hiltebrand
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday week, this week’s traveler sentiment update from Destination Analysts shows more negative impacts on short term travel due to the national and global surge in virus cases. However, the positive impact of the vaccine news keeps American travelers’ sentiment towards travel on the positive side for the future, with 82% of travelers reporting trip plans in 2021. Let’s start planning. Happy Thanksgiving!
When Americans Have Travel Plans
As of November 22 — From Destination Analysts 
Destination Analysts Key Findings to Know
From Destination Analysts' Travel Sentiment Report
  • Anxiety about contracting the virus continues to rise. 62.9% feel things are going to get worse in the next month and only 13.5% feel it will get better.

  • This continues to devastate sentiment about near-term travel and the industry’s ability to inspire new, incremental trips. 61.9% of American travelers continue to agree that the current surge in cases has made them less likely to travel in the next three months. The percent of Americans who agree they have lost their interest in travel for the time being is now approaching half.

  • The poor course of the pandemic also appears to be affecting sentiment towards ski/snowboard travel this season. Fewer ski/snowboard travelers feel that a ski/snowboard trip is safe this 2020/2021 season than did in October. However, over two-thirds of these travelers say that the institution of pandemic protocols would make them more interested in taking a ski/snowboard trip this season.

  • Nevertheless, there are indicators that the impacts of this current virus surge on travel may not be as deep or long-lasting as previous surges. The perception of travel activities as unsafe, engagement in travel avoidance overall, avoidance of international travel specifically and avoidance of conventions are still not near peaks hit in July and April.

  • Looking locally, over 40% of Americans feel comfortable going out for leisure activities in their own communities. While 56.1% do not want tourists coming to their community right now, this sentiment is also not at July and April levels. Perhaps in a nod to lessons learned in previous stages of the pandemic, 61.5% agree they support more restrictive COVID-19 rules being implemented in their home community.

  • Americans continue to report having trips planned over the next year (82%).

  • As they look to where they want to travel to over the next year, Americans are most commonly reporting that relaxing, fun, memorable, affordable and comforting are important attributes in the destinations they consider.

  • The latest vaccine news has made 58.1% of American travelers more optimistic about life returning to normal (or near normal) in the next six months.
Website Insights for sonomacounty.com
During the period of Nov 13-19, the top content that people were engaging with on the website was: the coronavirus page, followed by the Life Opens Up fall campaign page, and editorial about Thanksgiving, Bodega Bay, pumpkins, fall walks, crab season, and wineries. Our blog saw traffic for wineries open thanksgiving, outdoor movies, and what to expect after the fires. San Francisco represents 14% of the total traffic this past week. San José moved up to #3, Los Angeles dropped to #5, Sacramento is still #6, Oakland is still #7. We see 3 out-of-state cities in the top 25: New York, Chicago, and Seattle.
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