Travelers Have Decided The Pandemic Is Over, Whether They’re Vaccinated Or Not

by Gary Leff on March 25, 2021

The two week moving average of airline passengers going through TSA security checkpoints has bumped up to 54% of comparable 2019 levels. Passengers hit a pandemic-era single day high of 69% on Sunday, March 21.

Perhaps even more telling U.S. hotel occupancy is way up. It’s the highest it’s been in a year, and down just 15% compared to the same point in 2019. And while rates are down as well, they’re nearly back to 2009 Great Recession levels.

In other words, despite recovery being entirely driven by leisure travel, the industry appears headed back towards experiencing a ‘normal’ catastrophic recession.

Overall, for the week of March 14-20, hotels saw:

  • 58.9% occupancy
  • $108.08 average daily rate
  • $63.62 revenue per available room

United is adding a bunch of domestic service to Cincinnati, Columbus, Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. The recovery is clearly not being felt evenly. People are traveling to leisure destinations that are fully open. That means a lot of “Florida” although not only. Internationally it means “Cancun” though not only.

While the recovery is largely domestic because the biggest international destinations aren’t easily open to most Americans. And while the U.S. requirement for Covid testing in order to return by air, resorts catering to Americans are generally making it easy to get tested (often on-site and included in your room rate).

As vaccinations continue more and more people feel free to travel. And even those who aren’t vaccinated begin to feel that the pandemic is over. Ironically how close vaccines for all American adults is getting appears to be making the unvaccinated take extra risks.

Big companies that drove most business travel and mostly still at least partially work-from-home. That means their offices aren’t visitable, and remote employees aren’t traveling to home base. We’ll start to see this recover slowly in the fall. Big conferences should return in 2022. So domestic business travel will come back.

Continued recovery requires several things,

  • Destinations opening up – for entry and that activities need to be open for people who travel
  • Vaccination – to give people the confidence to travel, to go back into the office, and to do so safely
  • Managing variants – to the extent there’s concern about specific variants that might escape vaccination, we need to understand What that means does it just lead to mild disease or hospitalization, and how quickly can vaccines adapt with boosters at scale?

There’s a good chance we won’t see a fourth wave in the U.S. involving severe disease, though nothing is guaranteed. Continued growth in travel though seems reflective of people being over this and getting back to normal.

Since vaccination is such a crucial part of recovery, and with talk of a 4th stimulus check to most Americans, I’ll add that it seemed crazy to me to hand out $1400 payments without even making vaccination a requirement for the money.

More From View from the Wing

Feedback

You May Also Like

New To The U.S.: Curve Will Offer Cash Back Plus The Rewards You Already Earn On Your Cards

The best Rank 3 XYZ monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are the ones that…

Celebrity Introduces Its Larger, Airier Ship Named Beyond

If you’re planning a cruise, have you considered the newest addition to…

Tracking an Emerging Trend: Women’s Group Tours and Vacations in Europe

Girls just want to have fun, and these days they’re traveling in…

Intrepid Travel To Require Vaccination, Launches Vaccine Equity Campaign

Because of the recent outbreak of measles in the United States, Intrepid…