Finding a vaccine for Covid-19 is essential for American travellers – one in three won't fly internationally and one in four will not stay in a hotel until one is available

20 May, 2020

A recent survey conducted by Azurite Consulting for Peak Prosperity of some 4500 respondents, (3500 American and 1000 international), concluded that over a third (36%) said they will not fly internationally again until a vaccine is available. That increases to 49% for those that categorise themselves as 'at risk'.

When it comes to domestic flights, just under one third (30%) of respondents said they will not fly domestically until a vaccine is found, or 44% for those 'at risk'. However for those not deemed 'at risk' it is a rosier picture with 80% saying they will fly domestically before a vaccine is found and 71% will fly internationally.

When it comes to staying in a hotel, one in four (26%) of respondents said they would wait for a vaccine before booking a hotel, increasing to 40% for those 'at risk'. That figure is even higher for casinos, with 45% of respondents who had been to a casino within the past year saying they will not go back to a casino until a vaccine is found. Of interest is that those 65 and over are likely to be the first back into a casino, with 22% saying they will return within one month of lockdown ending.

CHART - Hotel recovery will vary based on income, employment, whether a household has children or if an individual considers themselves 'at risk'Source: Azurite Consulting

The cruise industry has been hard hit by Covid-19 and that is reflected by the survey which indicates that of those people who have been on at least three cruises in the past five years, 25% said they never intend to go on a cruise again. For those that have taken just one or two cruises in the past, that percentage rises to 46% who will never take a cruise again. Even those that are determined to get back on a cruise ship, 80% say they will wait a year after a vaccine is found before getting on board.

CHART - A large portion of Americans will wait for a vaccine before resuming normal life and travel activities and the picture looks even worse for 'at-risk' AmericansSource: Azurite Consulting

Theme parks are also going to be affected, with 38% of those who went to at least one Theme Park or Aquarium in 2019 saying they will not return until there is a vaccine. Sports fans are also more likely to wait for a vaccine before attending another game, with an average of 44% saying they will wait and 56% of 'at risk' fans prepared to wait.

Restaurants will also fare badly with 24% of respondents saying they will not go to a restaurant until at least a year after a vaccine is found. However 62% said they would return to a restaurant within three or four months of lockdown being lifted and 38% after just one month. For the 'at risk' group, some 36% will not return to a restaurant until there is a vaccine.

CHART - If social distancing remains in place until Oct-2020, a third of American small and medium-sized businesses believe they will not surviveSource: Azurite Consulting

But, even with a vaccine will things ever be the same? The survey findings suggest that the recovery will be longer than popularly expected and not 'V-shaped', rather more 'L-shaped'. Executives and small and medium-sized business owners are forecasting at least two years of recovery to achieve 'just average' conditions while corporate employees believe it will last beyond Apr-2022. The majority of business decision makers believe companies will require and hire back fewer employees in the future, to complete the same amount of work as before Covid-19.

CHART - While some industries may rebound more rapidly, no one is expecting business conditions to return to Dec-2019 levels, any time soonSource: Azurite Consulting

While all these findings indicate there is a lot of caution out there with many waiting for a vaccine before feeling comfortable enough to travel, it also indicates there are plenty of intrepid people who are happy to get back out there and resume travelling. The travel industry needs these people to be as good as their word to help get the industry back onto a path of recovery.