MATTHEW SPEAK | TravelPulse.Com
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With over 3.5 billion Google searches happening per day, the Google search engine is the most popular website in the world, and the manner in which people use Google helps us understand their thoughts and intentions when it comes to making their travel plans.
You’re probably already familiar with Google and how you can use it to retrieve information, navigate to a website, or place an online order. A tool called Google Trends provides information about the relative popularity of search terms, and these search terms tell us a lot about the travel industry and the kinds of factors that are affecting travelers and their 2021 travel plans.
The graph above shows the trend in popularity for the search term “2021 travel” over the last 90 days among searchers in the US. This graph tells us that there is a significant uptick in how often people are searching for the term “2021 travel” since the beginning of the year. More importantly, it tells us that there is a pent-up demand among travelers and that there is a significant increase in travelers making their travel plans.
The vaccine rollout is very encouraging news and is clearly affecting people’s travel plans. In the chart above, we are seeing a consistent upward trend for searches for the term “vaccine travel” which returns articles detailing topics such as what the vaccine might mean for your travel plans and what cruise lines are saying about vaccine requirements.
The evidence of increased traveler optimism doesn’t end with Google. The vaccine rollout is causing a major increase in optimism among travelers, as research organizations such as Longwood International are reporting in studies.
Travel Restrictions & Travel Safety
Not only are people researching their travel plans more proactively, but they’re also learning about how current travel restrictions will affect their travel plans. The TravelPulse digital team is able to see the most popular search queries that lead people to TravelPulse articles, and many of the most popular search queries bringing people to TravelPulse have to do with 2021 travel restrictions.
Examples of these articles include “travel restrictions”, “travel restrictions by state”, “us travel restrictions”, “mexico travel restrictions”, “cancun travel restrictions”, and “puerto rico travel restrictions”. These search queries have resulted in a giant influx of traffic to our January and February State-by-State Restrictions Guide for the US (March Edition coming soon!), as well as articles and guides for Mexico, Cancun, and Puerto Rico travel restrictions.
We are also seeing an influx of web traffic from searches relating to travel safety. Searches for terms such as “safest places to travel right now” and “safe places to travel during covid” are on the rise.
Other Travel Topics: Cruises, Hotels, and Flights
Searches for other travel terms such as cruises, hotels, and flights are all on a consistent upward trend over the course of the last three months.
As you can see in the charts below, each of these terms has seen an upward trend of 25% – 50% within the last three months.
Google Trends chart for the popularity of the term “Flights” within the US from the last 3 months.
We are facing some of the most encouraging times we’ve seen in the travel industry in over a year, even if we aren’t totally out of the woods just yet.
Travel plans are starting to formulate, optimism is picking up in a big way, and the majority of folks who have gotten fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are planning to travel this spring.