USA spotlight – the travel recovery stalls but a coalition of US travel organisations and businesses have developed a ‘Let’s Go There’ campaign in a concerted effort to get Americans travelling again

31 August, 2020

The US travel picture is far from pretty as the pandemic continues to ravage the travel industry and hamper a revival. While there was a gradual increase seen over the summer holidays, that seems to have come to an end with travel spending stagnating in the week ending 22-Aug-2020 with less than 1% growth over the previous week. This puts the US travel economy for this year -44% below 2019 levels. Air travel also stalled with air passenger screenings declining for the first time since Jul-2020 as summer travel slows.

Air travel had been leading the travel growth over the past four weeks but that summer spike now appears to be over. The latest seven day average of TSA screenings for week ending 25-Aug-2020 was 692,000, down -3.7% on the previous week. Car travel is also down -2.4% over the previous week and the lowest since early Jul-2020.

These are trends highlighted by the Tourism Economics report prepared for the US Travel Association together with figures from the TSA. The Tourism Economics report highlights that the number of states experiencing losses exceeding -50% remains at seven, although Washington left the group and Alaska rejoined. The number of states posting weekly losses of less than -40% increased from 31 states to 34 states, but states that have reached weekly losses of less than -30% fell from 10 to nine.

The good news, if it can be called that, is that the total losses for the month of August are on target to be a +12% improvement over Jul-2020 and therefore the best month since the pandemic began.

In an effort to speed up the recovery of the US travel industry, a coalition of US travel organisations and businesses have joined together to address the extreme decline in travel being experienced. The coalition is led by the US Travel Association and includes hotel groups, airlines, tourism boards, attractions and companies such as Disney, Airlines for America, American Express and Brand USD. The coalition’s goal is simple: when plans are made and eagerly anticipated, spirits are lifted and recovery will begin.

The coalition first championed a #TravelConfidently campaign and now the ‘Let’s Go There’ campaign. It is the coalition’s belief that with the right messaging, demand for travel will resume and the travel industry will emerge from its deep economic depression.

Starting on 8-Sep-2020 the two campaigns, ‘Let’s Go There’ and ‘Let’s Go There Soon’ will feature a set of resources available to all travel related companies to help their creative campaigns within their own channels. The resources toolkit includes logos, graphics and sample copy available at no cost and all travel companies are being urged to use as widely as possible. Additional resources, including videos and a style guide, will also be made available soon.

The campaigns will kick off with a homepage takeover, to show unity across the industry and raise awareness of the ‘Let’s Go There’ message. By sharing these resources on their own channels, companies will be joining a collective push to get the message out to Americans. It is believed that by encouraging Americans to make plans and think about travel in the future they will benefit from the known restorative powers of anticipation and also help the travel industry recover.

Funding for the campaign is by donation with specific branding and digital benefits available depending on the level of contribution. With all contributions going towards the campaign’s expenses.

Since the beginning of Mar-2020, the US travel economy’s losses from the Covid-19 pandemic have eclipsed USD350 billion – a rate of USD2.0 billion in losses per day. It is hoped that these campaigns will reignite the spirit of wanderlust in Americans and inspire them to plan their next getaway, whenever the time is right to travel.