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Airbnb Thinks Consumers Will Travel For Friends, Family Over Tourism

Airbnb, in a newly-released report, predicts 2021 will see a greater amount of regional traveling.

The popular vacation rental company says that when travel begins to pick back up, “it will be about connecting with loved ones through more personal trips, with mass tourism unlikely to return at any scale this year.”

U.S. consumers have said their priority is mainly to travel for personal reasons, to see family and friends in secure and comfortable settings. Reconnecting with loved ones and traveling safely are the prime reasons people are looking to get the vaccine, too, Airbnb reports.

The company’s research points out that Americans are feeling “isolated and lonely,” with 53 percent feeling less connected to their families and another 53 percent feeling estranged from friends. The research found 56 percent felt isolated from their local community, too.

And they miss traveling, with the report finding that traveling for pleasure is the experience Americans miss the most. That’s above going out to bars or restaurants, sporting events and concerts and other live events.

The report finds that just thinking about travel makes people happier, and that a majority of people are ready to travel again. Fifty-four percent of respondents had already booked a trip, are planning to travel or expect to travel this year, the report says, including 57 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds and 60 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said travel was likely permanently changed due to the pandemic, and that people would be looking into going to smaller cities and spending more time with friends, as opposed to seeking out the more popular global landmarks of the past.

Chesky said that, rather than seek out glitzy tourist centers, people would be “yearning for what was taken away from them.”

Airbnb, despite a rough start to the pandemic, came back strong as people began to use it more after the initial quarantine period last year.

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