Today's Takeaways
From SCT's director of marketing systems & insights, Ariane Hiltebrand
This week’s traveler sentiment update by Destination Analysts shows continued negative impacts on travel for the remainder of 2020 due to the national surge in virus cases and lockdown situations in some states, with more people cancelling their holiday travel plans. Likewise, the outlook for a fast recovery in 2021 has damped somewhat since longer vaccine timelines and shortages have been announced in the news in the recent week. Nevertheless, most American travelers are reporting that they have tentative trip plans for 2021. Fun and relaxation are some of the major travel themes for 2021. California remains one of the top three most desired travel destinations for domestic travelers. The trajectory of the travel recovery is seen to greatly depend on swift, widespread, and successful vaccination.
American Travel in 2021
From Destination Analysts
Destination Analysts Key Findings to Know
From Destination Analysts' Travel Sentiment Report
  • While 73.4% of Americans continue to have a high degree of concern about their friends or family contracting the virus, those with similar concerns about personally contracting the virus declined to 66.7%.

  • Nevertheless, Americans largely see the last month of 2020 as one in which the pandemic situation is going to worsen. In fact, Americans’ comfort going out for leisure activities even within their own community has declined for the last 3 weeks.

  • The current state of the pandemic has eroded Americans’ confidence that travel can be done safely.

  • The gloominess combined with more clarity on timelines for production and distribution appear to have muted some of the strong hope initially felt about a COVID vaccine. The percent who say the recent vaccine developments have made them more optimistic that they can travel safely in the next six months has declined to 46.0% from 52.5% three weeks ago.

  • Americans’ current sentiment has some impact on marketability for travel. Those in a travel readiness state of mind dropped to 52.5% from 55.5% in the last week, and those that can be motivated by discounts and price cuts to travel in the near-term dropped to 36.0% after hitting 40.3% two weeks ago.

  • However, Americans also still demonstrate openness to travel messaging. Those that agree that they have lost their interest in travel for the time being dropped to 43.1% from a high of 50.0% last week. And after consistently declining for a month, the proportion excited to learn about new, exciting travel experiences or destinations to visit improved to 44.2%.

  • About 80% of American travelers took at least one trip in 2020, with an average of 2.9 leisure trips reported.

  • Over 47% say they will prioritize leisure travel in their personal budget in 2021.

  • Americans plan on taking about 3 leisure trips on average in 2021—primarily to cities, small towns and beaches. One-in-five of these travelers anticipate at least one of these trips will be international. In terms of the actual experiences they will prioritize, spending time with loved ones, getting away from crowds, enjoying nature, going to new places they haven’t been before, excitement and energy, as well as budget travel will be top.

  • Well over a third of Americans whose job allows them to telecommute say they are likely to take a “workcation” in 2021. Meanwhile, 29.4% of Americans who travel with school-aged children say they are likely to take a “schoolcation.”

  • As to the most popular destinations Americans plan to visit in 2021, Florida, New York, Las Vegas and California look to remain tourism powerhouses.
Website Insights for
During the period of Nov 27-Dec 3, the top content that people were engaging with on the website was: the coronavirus page and holidays content. Our blog saw traffic for the 12 days of holidays gift guide, holiday food gifts, clubs and gifts subscriptions, and wineries open Christmas and New Year’s.

San Francisco represents 14% of the total traffic this past week. San José moved down to #4, Los Angeles is still #5, Sacramento moved down to #9, Oakland moved up to #10. We see 3 out-of-state cities in the top 25: New York, Chicago, and Dallas.
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
Missed Last Week’s Performance & Insights?

You can access the previous week’s Tourism Industry Performance & Insights here.

And you can explore our entire back catalog of 2020 releases here.