STR Tracking for Sonoma County
Things to Note:

  • 49 of the county’s 112 hotels report to STR
  • In April, 13 of those 49 hotels were closed for the full month and are not included in the data
  • 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. Learn more about how STR collects data, and how it is calculate d, here .
Destination Analysts Key Findings to Know
From the 5/18 Destination Analysts' Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Report
  • American travelers are demonstrating increased comfort with (or in spite of) their concerns surrounding COVID-19.

  • Feelings about the virus and travel are not uniform—geographically, demographically or psychograpically. Those travelers with high levels of personal concern about COVID-19 remain firm about not planning any trips. Travelers in the Midwest and South tend to be more optimistic, while many in the Northeast are planning a staycation this summer. Millennial and Gen Z travelers generally feel relatively safer and are more motivated by travel deals right now.

  • American travelers are opening back up to attending conferences and conventions. 64.5% of conference/convention travelers trust the host organizations of these events to look out for their health.

  • Travel planning is happening: Of the 64.1% of American travelers who have one or more trips at least tentatively planned this year, seven-in-ten have taken some deliberate action towards their very next trip.
  • Marketing could be effective in swaying travelers to choose a specific destination. For those who will take a vacation or getaway for their next trip, over half are still not fully decided on where they will go. Beaches, parks and other natural environments appear particularly attractive to this group right now.

  • Travelers need destination-level information on safety. Three-quarters of Americans who plan to travel this year will research how the destination they visit and its businesses are managing the coronavirus situation. A majority of these travelers plan to carry hand sanitizer, follow social distancing guidelines, avoid crowds, and wear a face mask on their trips. 

  • Rural residents are the least comfortable with tourists presently, setting up potential tensions with travelers desiring the types of assets found in these places. 

  • Travel remains recognized for its positive emotional benefits for families. For those American travelers under shelter-in-place orders, 59.1% feel that traveling together when the coronavirus situation is over would be good for their family.
Today's Takeaways
From SCT's director of marketing systems & insights, Ariane Hiltebrand
It is interesting to see from this week’s travel sentiment study by Destination Analysts that domestic travelers’ primary reasons for their next leisure travel are vacation trips, visiting friends and family, and weekend getaways. For vacation trips, travelers will be looking for outdoors activities, parks and beaches, and wellness-related experiences away from crowds.

42% of American travelers currently indicate that they prefer to travel by car on road trips. But we are now also seeing the average trip distance they intend to travel this year has increased to a 539-mile average with 27% anticipating travel over 1000 miles. This means that a portion of tourists will certainly book air travel to get to their leisure destination.

In terms of destination types, beach destinations and resorts lead with 32.7%, and interestingly urban/metro areas and rural areas are currently tied at round 28% each, indicating that people will soon feel comfortable traveling to big cities again.

It is also interesting to see what types of businesses travelers intend to visit on their next leisure trip:
  1. Restaurants: 60.9%
  2. Parks, gardens, etc.: 39.4%
  3. Museums/aquariums: 21.9%
  4. Performance (theater, etc.): 16.3%
  5. Wineries: 16.1%
  6. Festivals or special events: 15.4%
  7. Bars and nightclubs: 14%
  8. Breweries: 13.8%
  9. Sporting events: 10.1%

All these findings indicate that Sonoma County is positioned well as a destination that people from the Bay Area and California drive market (and even some mid- to long-haul US markets) would be interested in traveling to this year. And last but not least, good news for California as a whole: the current sentiment index around US states that travelers will want to visit: California is the second state (17.3%) after Florida (22%) that US travelers plan to visit this year.