Poll: Have vaccine, will travel

Boston Statehouse

FILE – In this Nov. 25, 2020, file photo, travelers wait to check-in for their flights ahead of Thanksgiving at LaGuardia Airport, in the Queens borough of New York. With some Americans now paying the price for what they did over Thanksgiving, health officials are warning people — begging them, even — not to make the same mistake during the Christmas and New Year’s season. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Americans hope to do more traveling in 2021, but nearly half of those surveyed in a new poll commissioned by the hotel industry said their level of comfort with staying in a hotel depends on the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that 56 percent of Americans expect to travel for vacations this year. While still down from pre-pandemic levels of travel, only 21 percent of those polled said they had traveled for vacation or leisure in the past year, which has been devastating to the hospitality industry.

The poll surveyed 2,200 adults between Jan. 7 and Jan. 9. Consumers may be feeling optimistic about being able to travel this year, but 17 percent said they wouldn’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel until they had been vaccinated and another 20 percent said it would take a majority of Americans being vaccinated to get them into a room away from home. Eleven percent said they would stay in a hotel once vaccines become available to the general public.

Chip Rogers, the CEO of the AHLA, said the pandemic has erased 10 years of job growth in the hotel industry. “In the next COVID-19 relief package, the hotel industry needs support from Congress and the Administration that will ultimately help small business hoteliers keep their doors open, and bring more employees back to work.

Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry, hotels across the country are focused on creating an environment ready for guests when travel begins to return,” Rogers said. The hospitality industry is expecting leisure travel to come back first, followed by small to medium-sized events and then, finally, group and business travel, with a full recovery not forecast until 2024.

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