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Amex Carried Out A Travel Survey & These Are Some Of The Results


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Between 15 and 24 January 2021, American Express ran a series of polls across various countries to see how people were feeling about travel this year, travel in the future, and their feelings on travel in general. There isn’t anything hugely surprising in the results (although I’m not sure I understand the logic of paying more for your next trip just because you didn’t take one in 2020) but as people seem to love a survey, I thought I’d post the results that Amex has made public.

About The Survey

Sample: 1,000 travelers in Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, and the U.K., and 2,000 in the U.S.

Household Income: $70k+ USD household income equivalent in Australia, Canada, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S., $50k+ USD equivalent in Mexico, and $20k+ USD equivalent household income in India.

Participants: adults who traveled by air at least once in 2019.

Note: Amex says that results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points in the U.S.; plus or minus 3 percentage points in the other countries.

The Findings

  • 87% of people surveyed said that having a trip planned in the future gives them something to look forward to.
  • 76% of respondents are creating their destination wish list for future travel even though they might not be able to travel yet.
  • 64% of respondents miss traveling so much that they would be willing to give up social media for a month to be able to go on vacation.
  • 56% of respondents said that they miss traveling so much that they are willing to book a trip now even if they might have to cancel it in the future.

a poster of a body of water with a body of water and mountains

  • 65% of respondents said they plan to travel after they and their family members have received a vaccine for COVID-19.
  • 78% of respondents indicate wanting to travel in 2021 to relieve the stresses from 2020.
  • 63% of respondents said that they are saving their credit card points so they can go on a vacation once they feel comfortable traveling.
  • 33% say they will more frequently use travel credits or points to pay for all or part of a trip in 2021 than they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 61% of survey respondents plan to spend more than they normally would on a trip in 2021 since they could not travel in 2020.
  • 54% of respondents said that the freedom and flexibility of being able to live and work while traveling the globe are more appealing now than it was prior to the pandemic.

a man sitting at a desk with a laptop

  • 62% of respondents say that eating is the top activity they are interested in doing while traveling.
  • 82% of respondents say that personalized experiences are the most desirable “luxury amenity”.
  • 81% of respondents say that high cleanliness standards are the most desirable “luxury amenity”.
  • 79% of respondents say that privacy is the most desirable “luxury amenity”.
  • 59% indicate that they want to use a travel agent to help plan and customize their next trip.
  • 80% indicate they are willing to travel to destinations during the offseason so that it’s less crowded.
  • 69% of respondents are interested in visiting lesser-known destinations
  • 72% of respondents agree that they are passionate about traveling to destinations to help boost tourism revenue and the local economy.

a screenshot of a phone

  • 69% of respondents agree that they want to choose an airline/hotel that values diversity and inclusion, and whose employees reflect a diverse customer base.
  • 60% of respondents agree they want to book airlines that have a carbon-neutral commitment.
  • 68% of respondents agree they are trying to be more aware of sustainability-friendly travel brands to support.

Quick Thoughts

  1. I have no doubt that a substantial number of people who said that they would want to do all the virtuous things indicated by some of the polls questions would give all those things up in heartbeat for a good discount on a non-virtuous vacation (but that may just be me being my usual cynical self).
  2. It’s a little concerning that “high standards of cleanliness” are considered a “luxury amenity”. Personally, I expect high standards of cleanliness regardless of what price I pay. I may not get it, but that doesn’t stop me from having it as an expectation.
  3. The 36% of people who, presumably, wouldn’t give up social media for a month just so they could go on vacation must either really dislike traveling (each to their own) or really need to get a life.
  4. I can empathize with all the respondents who said that they have a trip planned in the future to give them something to look forward to – planning trips has been key to helping me keep my sanity during three full lockdowns.
  5. I can also empathize with all the people who said that they’re happy to book trips now even if there’s a chance they may have to cancel at some point down the road – that’s essentially what I’ve been doing for the past 12 months.

Overall, I’m not sure this poll tells us very much that we didn’t know already and the small sample size makes it hard to draw any major conclusions, but it’s still interesting to see how people are responding to travel-related surveys.

If we remove the noise and the virtue-signaling that always accompanies polls like this one, the key takeaways are that people are keen to travel; they’d like their destinations to be clean; they’d like to visit places that aren’t crowded, and they’d like as much privacy as possible. Based on all of this we can, presumably, expect off-peak private home rentals in less touristy locations to get incredibly popular 😁

Image courtesy of American Express

What do you think of the results of the poll and how do you feel about travel in 2021 and beyone?

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