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Virtuoso reveals fall, holiday trends

by TravelPulse | September 24, 2020 at 1:38 a.m. | Updated September 24, 2020 at 1:40 a.m.

Virtuoso has found that more and more people fed up with months at home are ready to get out and travel. High-end travelers are especially intrigued by work- and learn-from-anywhere offers that can extend to weeks- to monthslong vacations.

Because of this new willingness to explore, there are signs of stabilization within the industry, say Virtuoso advisers.

Virtuoso research found that, across all regions, domestic beach and island destinations as well as ocean cruises are making up the majority of new bookings.

One of the most important factors for clients booking international trips is flexible cancellation or rebooking policies, in addition to both cleaning and safety protocols and the COVID-19 infection rate in the destination, Virtuoso's research found.

Virtuoso also surveyed its customers and found the following with regards to fall travel:

79 percent of travelers would take part in a travel pod (defined as two or more households whose members have been following similar quarantine and social-distancing practices that make plans to vacation together).

76 percent of travelers want to take a beach vacation.

100 percent of 18-25-year-olds are ready to travel, while less than 50 percent of those 41 years and older are not.

70 percent are traveling less than 1,500 miles from home.

43 percent are booking hotels two weeks or less before their stay.

Popular hotel attributes include seclusion, private swimming pools and golf.

66 percent are willing to fly, but they want the middle seat open. An empty middle seat now determines airline loyalty. Seventy-three percent would even pay extra for an airline ticket if it meant the middle seat next to them would remain empty.

When it comes to holiday travel, Virtuoso found that approximately 40 percent of those surveyed said they planned to travel this holiday season. Some have booked, but others are waiting to see before they make concrete plans.

Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said that they are willing to take an international flight (pending travel restrictions), and top destinations are perennial favorites such as the Caribbean and Mexico.

Looking ahead to the coming year, cruising is seeing a surge. The survey results indicate that traditional cruise customers are going to continue sailing. Thirty-seven percent of Virtuoso travelers polled said they would cruise right now, and 2021 cruise bookings are outpacing 2018 at the moment.

River cruising is especially popular with 2021 bookings, up 14 percent. Ocean cruising is down but only by single digits.



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