Vaccinations & Vacations

Vaccinations and vacations seem to be inextricably linked. Most Americans (and by inference) most western travelers, feel getting the jab will be their go ahead to take a flight and vacation with confidence.

Significant progress in the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine should prod American travelers to book their next trip, according to Allianz Partners’ latest survey of its U.S. travel insurance customers. The survey’s findings come at a time when Americans are rapidly learning of promising developments around potential vaccines, bringing newfound hope for the travel industry and 2021 vacation plans.

The travel insurance and assistance provider surveyed 3,500 of its customers in order to gauge travelers’ intent in booking trips more than 100 miles from their home (for at least two nights) and to track changing travel sentiment since a similar survey was conducted in the spring.

The majority of customers (58%, up 6 points from the Spring survey), who were surveyed shortly before the news broke last month about a promising vaccine, responded that a proven vaccine would make them feel safe again to travel, with customers over the age of 65 placing more importance on the vaccine than customers under the age of 45. Health officials announcing it is safe to travel was second (48%, up three points), and the previously top safety measure, advanced sanitization efforts at hotels, airports, etc. (47%, down five points), came in at third, but was the most important factor among customers under the age of 45.

Almost a third of the customers surveyed are still not certain when they’ll next travel.

However it is interesting to note that despite the higher risk, Snowbirds still want to get away. Allianz found 9% of customers over the age of 65 will be traveling this season, compared to 18% of customers under the age of 45.

Additionally, the survey discovered that most Americans plan to fly (70%, up 5 points) for their next trip, while travelers opting to drive to their destination have taken a back seat, (19%, down 9 points). Whether the drop in road trip travel is tied to winter weather and driving conditions, or the potential COVID-19 vaccines, the result is a positive sign for the airline industry, which faced a difficult year of decreased demand and the task of rebuilding customer trust through advanced safety measures.

“The promise of a highly-effective COVID-19 vaccine could be a substantial step toward recovery for the travel industry, and as our survey found, a key factor in customers feeling more confident booking trips for 2021,” said Daniel Durazo, Director of Marketing and Communications at Allianz Partners USA. “With pent-up travel demand at a seemingly all-time high, we anticipate Americans will be looking to book their ultimate itineraries in 2021 to their favorite destinations.”