Most vacationers plan to travel in 2021, says Simon-Kucher

10 February 2021 2 min. read

A majority of leisure travelers (57%) plan to resume traveling in 2021, according to a Simon-Kucher & Partners and ROIRocket survey of 3,900 people in the US, UK, Germany, France, and Spain. Most respondents, however, plan to wait until the second half of the year to travel.

Surprisingly, most global leisure travelers (60%) expect their 2021 travel budget to be the same as it was pre-pandemic. Thirty percent of international travelers (and 34% of US travelers) expect to spend less, with half pointing to uncertainty about employment and income.

Ten percent of global travelers, meanwhile, fall into the “revenge travel” segment – which expects to increase their travel budgets. Half plan to expend their pent-up demand on one larger trip, while the other half plan to take shorter, more frequent vacations.

Dimitris Hiotis, head of the travel and tourism practice at Simon-Kucher, said, “The pandemic has impacted the travel industry in an unprecedented way. Our insights suggest that 2021 will be the year that travel rebounds, especially in the second half of the year, with the majority of consumers wanting to travel and spend the same or even more than before the pandemic.”

Most vacationers plan to travel in 2021, says Simon-KucherA travel rebound hinges on the widespread rollout of an effective vaccine. However, issues with manufacturing, delayed distribution, and lessened effectiveness on new strains could put a damper on traveler’s optimistic plans. Further waves of the pandemic and renewed travel restrictions would likewise put the kibosh on a resurgence of international vacationing.

Even if a post-pandemic world arrives soon, travel behavior will remain changed. The shift to staycations and domestic travel will continue in 2021, with preference for domestic travel increasing 39% and preference for international travel dropping 49%, according to the survey.

The preference for car-based travel will also linger, with 39% of US respondents using cars more when planning their vacation. Forty-four percent of Americans plan to reduce use of air and train travel, while 55% say they will take fewer cruises than before the pandemic.

Americans this year will also expect more discounts and promotions from struggling airlines, resorts, and hotels. “As post-pandemic travel resumes, more than 80 percent of Americans expect discounts and promotions, which is the highest amongst all countries surveyed,” said Wei Ke, a partner in Simon-Kucher's travel and tourism practice. “It will be essential for travel companies to offer incentives that encourage early booking, while also reassuring consumers with flexible cancellation and rebooking policies.”