Today's Takeaways
From SCT's director of marketing systems & insights, Ariane Hiltebrand
This week’s traveler sentiment update by Destination Analysts reveals that people are in general getting more optimism about travel. At this time, the safety perceptions around travel have improved to an all-pandemic high, thanks to all the safety measures the hospitality industry has put in place. 49.9% is now the lowest mean score during the pandemic for travel and leisure activities perceived as unsafe, with cruises, buses, international travel, and large events still topping the list. Individual outdoor recreation, taking road trips, going shopping, visiting friends and relatives, and staying in hotels are perceived as safest at this time.
Destination Analysts Key Findings to Know
From Destination Analysts' Travel Sentiment Report
  • Americans’ anxieties about the pandemic quelled somewhat this week relative to last week, although in a historic context, these largely remain in an elevated state.

  • The percent of Americans who feel the pandemic situation in the U.S. will get worse in the next month fell another 6.5% this week to 43.2%, the lowest it has been since September 27th.

  • Perceptions of travel and leisure activities as unsafe dropped to 48.9% and is now lower than where it was March 15th.

  • Down somewhat this week are perceptions of and willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccines. However, over half of Americans feel they will be inoculated by June.

  • In terms of what Americans are looking for in travel experiences in 2021, right now scenic beauty, outdoor activities in warm weather, beach destinations and resorts, National Parks, and road trips are predominant in their minds. With the virus still raging, big city and food experiences do not weigh as heavy as they did in pre-pandemic times.

  • Right now, over a third (36.8%) of those Americans who attend live events and festivals say they would be comfortable traveling to attend such an event by June; the rest need more time.

  • Looking at strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 at events, if all attendees were required to take a COVID-19 test and present a negative result to enter the event, 45.2% of American travelers said this would make them more comfortable. If all attendees were required to show proof of vaccine, 51.0% said this would make them more comfortable attending.

  • Looking specifically at the outlook for the next 3 months, the average number of reported trips in this period is 1.1, up from 1.0 last week. When those that are traveling in this period were asked about the destination types they expect to visit, there has been a modest increase in expectations for travel to cities and beaches, as well as state and regional recreational areas and mountain destinations.
Website Insights for
During the period of Jan 8-14, 2021, the top content that people were engaging with on the website was the coronavirus page, as well as coastal, outdoors, and culinary (crab season!) content.

San Francisco represents 11% of the total traffic this past week. Sacramento is #6, Oakland is #7, San José is #8, Los Angeles is #11. We see 3 out-of-state cities in the top 25: New York, Boston, and Chicago.
STR Tracking for Sonoma County
Things to Note:

  • STR is comparing “Weekly Year Over Year.”
  • 52 of the county’s 116 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