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Daily Travel Index: Weekly Briefing 5/1/20 – Part 3

Published on May 3, 2020 in General

In case you missed it, please be sure to check out parts 1 and 2

Summary

Drive market activity in Texas and Georgia is way up…New Yorkers and Californians have been increasingly getting out of their houses (typically staying within 100 miles of home) …while Floridians, with a radically different approach to reopening, appeared to have stayed closer to home. So, what does all this mean? 

Our hypothesis: Stay at home orders will undoubtedly affect the rate of recovery—especially for the most popular destination states; as an example, while Disneyworld and Universal Studios Orlando Resort remain closed, Florida will see fewer visitors. However, a mix of economic and psychological factors, including confidence level about the safety of travel, financial security, political disposition, and regional psyche, each appear to be much more potent influences on the rate of observed trip activity on any given market. Although the hypothesis is relatively simple, it underscores a complex problem: a mix of data, both quantitative (numeric based data) and qualitative (textual, ’emotional’ based information), will be needed to enable the best decisions regarding reopening and redeployment of marketing resources. It is worth noting that, before any other consideration, local AND origin market health guidelines should be adhered to and respected.

Qualitative Factors to Consider

  1. The sentiment of BOTH locals and potential visitors with regards to the safety of travel. Do locals feel it is safe for visitors to return? Are potential visitors indicating an intent to travel this summer or fall? Our friends at Destination Analysts put together a solid assessment of a few of those of factors here:  https://www.destinationanalysts.com/insights-updates/
  2. What is the level of perceived financial security by potential visitors? Has a particular drive market been hit especially hard by the crisis (whether economical or from a health standpoint)? If so, it might be prudent to carefully consider both proper messaging and timing within that particular market.  
  3. What types of destination experiences will be most desirable for a chosen market? (It may not be ideal to assume outdoor experiences will be the most popular, categorically, in every destination) *Note: Quantitative research, such as geo-location data on specific points of interest, can also help answer this question.
  4. How are attitudes toward short-range travel affected by an individual’s demographic cohort (group)? Which origin markets are likely to contain more (or less) of these types of travelers?

Quantitative Factors to Consider

  1. What is the current level of consumer trip activity within applicable drive markets? The Daily Travel Index was built specifically to address this need.
  2. What is the forecasted demand (and booking volumes) for travel in the next 30-120 days within applicable drive markets? Search and booking data sources are terrific for this, including STR (https://str.com/data-insights-blog/coronavirus-hotel-industry-data-news), ADARA (https://adara.com/traveler-trends-tracker/), and Sojern (https://www.sojern.com/blog/category/covid-19-travel-industry/).  
  3. How is numerically recorded survey research trending? Are attitudes towards travel in the immediate future trending upward, remaining flat, or moving downward? The Travel Insight Report by DK Shifflet and MMGY (https://www.mmgyglobal.com/covid-19/) and the COVID 19 Travel Travel Sentiment Study by Longwoods and Miles Partnership (https://longwoods-intl.com/news-press-release/covid-19-travel-sentiment-study-wave-7) are just a few good places to review this style of data.
  4. What do trends in travel and tourism website activity indicate? How do visits and activity on DMO websites, for instance, correlate with COVID-19 data, government actions, drive market activity, travel sentiment, etc.? Simpleview has kindly offered a survey of this data, via its hundreds of DMO clients, on its website here: https://www.simpleviewinc.com/dmo-industry-data/

In Closing

Other sources of information that we’ve found useful for overall situational awareness include Tourism Economics’ latest economic impact study co-authored with U.S. Travel (https://www.tourismeconomics.com/press/latest-research/covid-19-travel-industry-research/), Madden Media’s “Plan. Protect. Recover.” Guide (https://maddenmedia.com/protect-plan-recover/) and Streetsense’s collection of recovery-related articles that address the needs of many tourism-dependent businesses, including restaurants, airports, and more.

We hope you have found this review of Daily Travel Index data and subsequent musings helpful as you begin (or continue) your recovery efforts. There are many more variables and challenges to overcome in the coming weeks, not the least of which is the hope that we will officially turn the corner on new virus cases and especially the loss of life. In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with the most up to date information available on drive market activity around the country. Beginning next Tuesday (, check back here for a region by region pulse check on consumer trip activity. You can subscribe to these weekly updates below, which will be delivered throughout the recovery. 

More updates to come!  

All the best to each and all,
The Team at Arrivalist