Key Takeaways from ADARA’s COVID-19 Webinar

By Mary Bramley, Destinations International Foundation

ADARA, a travel data and market intelligence company, recently launched a webinar series exploring the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic called Navigating Uncharted Territory. We sat in on a recent webinar and came away with the following insights.

Airline Change Fees Made a Difference

From March 4 through March 12, as the virus spread, airlines began changing their booking policies, making it easier to cancel or change plans without a fee.  After this change, there was a sudden jump in the number of bookings that were made for 91+ days out. Presumably, this was driven by increased traveler confidence that they could rebook flights if necessary.

Leisure travel, and specifically family travel, was the first to be booked following airlines’ policy changes, followed by solo/couple travel, and then other travel types.

ADARA data shows that while total outbound travel has plummeted and the total number of flights to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are all in steep declines, searches for flights to China are actually rising.

“Revenge Spending” Will Drive the Recovery

Lee Pillsbury, Managing Director of Travel and Hospitality for VC Thayer Ventures, noted that Americans have the mentality that they “deserve a vacation” so he feels that leisure travel will be the first segment to bounce back, followed by business travel—although not before Labor Day—and finally group travel will be the last segment to recover.

He suggested that restaurants will be the first in the hospitality industry to bounce back because we are all sick of our own cooking. David Marrow, Vice President of Global Marketing for ADARA, called this “revenge spending”.

Focus Your Marketing on Domestic Family Travel

Based on this analysis, destination organizations should plan to market early the US family leisure travelers and the solo/couple travelers, as these markets will be among the first to be ready to hit the road. International travel will continue to be depressed until we can safely say that we are post-pandemic.

ADARA Is Offering Updated Industry Insights and Analysis

Carolyn Corda, ADARA’s CMO, noted that the word “unprecedented” is overused in a crisis, but that we truly are in unprecedented times. To help the industry keep up with frequent changes, ADARA has launched a COVID-19 Resource Center that tracks travel trends and search trends in the US, Europe and Asia. The data is updated each day, so you will have the ability to see fresh data as it comes in.

Keep Up with the Latest Information

ADARA will be hosting weekly webinars on COVID-19. To learn more and to sign up for the travel tracker trends e-mail, click here.

Destinations International is also hosting a weekly webinar series tracking the latest developments in the pandemic and its implications for our industry. You can register for these free webinars and access our suite of other COVID-19 resources here.

About the Author

Mary Bramley
Senior Manager of Foundation Development
Destinations International Foundation
Mary is responsible for building relationships with destination organizations, friends, stakeholders to help support the Foundation. In her former life, she served as Assistant Director of the NOVA Foundation, overseeing all scholarship activity and alumni relations. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with local non-profits by making casseroles and colleting food for the hungry.