In our latest survey, American frequent travelers report continued drops in optimism, willingness to travel domestically by air, and willingness to get the COVID vaccine once FDA-approved.
Editor's Note (11/19/2020): This article includes findings from ICF’s eighth wave of data collection that was fielded October 26 through November 1. The eighth wave collected 1,000 completes using a census-balanced, national non-probability sample. The new information, shared below, examines the impact of COVID-19 on the American public as well as their attitudes toward slowing the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about the ICF COVID-19 Monitor Survey of U.S. Adults.
Frequent traveler attitudes regarding the trajectory of the coronavirus crisis dip to second-worst levels we have reported but remain above July lows.
Frequent travelers’ feelings that the “worst of the crisis is yet to come” have mirrored the spikes in COVID cases seen in mid-summer and now in the fall, with 56% now believing this to be the case. This is the second highest figure we have reported, trailing only the 63% of frequent travelers who reported this belief in July. It is interesting to note that this change in belief coincides with a marked increase in the percentage of frequent travelers willing to travel by air domestically at some point in the future who now believe it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that they will get sick with coronavirus. 45% of frequent travelers now report holding this belief, up from 36% in our last survey.
Frequent travelers’ willingness to engage in domestic air travel continues steep declines from summer optimism.
As the year draws to a close, frequent travelers’ willingness to resume domestic air travel at some point during 2020 has dropped to the lowest levels we have reported. With limited time left in the year and COVID cases on the rise, 30% may in fact be an optimistic number. We anticipate further declines in this figure in our next survey as reality sets in for many in this group that travel in 2020 is off the docket.
Car service and rideshare brands should expect a tepid recovery until a COVID vaccine becomes available or outbreaks get under control.
A question we have not explored in depth so far in our survey is frequent travelers’ willingness to return to using a car service or ridesharing as frequently as before the pandemic. While for some these services are a fact of life, frequent travelers are increasingly reporting that they will be unwilling to resume using these services as often as they did before the pandemic. In this fielding of the survey, 35% of frequent travelers reported that they would be unwilling to return to using a car service or ridesharing as frequently as before the pandemic until “COVID-19 is completely controlled, or a vaccine is available.” This figure is up 9% since the last fielding of our survey in late September and early October
Finally, questions we have been tracking since May regarding cruise travel and belief in the importance of wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 have remained relatively stable since our last survey.
87% of frequent travelers report that they believe it is “somewhat important” or “very important” to wear a face mask to “stop the spread of the coronavirus,” up from 85% in October but down from a July high of 89%.
58% of frequent travelers are unwilling to resume cruise travel as frequently as they did before the pandemic until later than summer 2021 or “not until COVID-19 is completely controlled or a vaccine is available.” This percentage matches what we found in our last fielding of the survey.
Watch this space.
How will American frequent travelers’ feelings and behaviors change as the fall pandemic surge continues across the country? We will report key findings from our data collection efforts and will continue to share this information. Sign up to receive alerts as we roll out upcoming results and package our insights into reports.