Memorial Day Travel in the Post-Vaccine Era

May 11, 2021

Memorial Weekend is a time we humbly set apart to honor the servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country. A day of remembrance to commemorate these brave soldiers and celebrate the freedom we enjoy today. A time of patriotism, family traditions, and travel for many Americans. Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of the summer season and, with COVID cases down and vaccination levels up, American’s are ready to hit the roads, take to the skies and celebrate their freedom to travel this Memorial Day.

43 million American’s traveled for Memorial Day Weekend in 2019, of which 12 million boarded a plane. The COVID pandemic painted a different picture for 2020 where only 1.5 million people flew for Memorial Day and the AA failed to release a Memorial Day forecast for the first time in two decades due to the pandemic. It was a Memorial Day with a difference as most of us stayed home, watched virtual parades, and celebrated in our isolated bubbles.

Today, all adults in the US are eligible for the vaccine and approximately 150 million Americans have received one or both doses. According to a recent Time/Harris poll, 52% of US adults said they received the vaccine to be able to travel freely. This brings on an era of post-vaccination travel or the post-vaccination trip of a lifetime – the top trending Vaxication!

How Does Travel in the Post-Vaccine Era Look?

Memorial Day is the first long weekend of the “vaccination-era” and vacation destinations are preparing for an influx of visitors, many making their first post COVID trip. Many states are phasing out restrictions as Memorial Day approaches, virtual parades and ceremonies are going “live” again, amusement arcades, water parks, and golf courses are opening for the season and excitement is building as the unofficial start to the summer looks promising. Does travel in the post-vaccine era look any different?

Travel Confidence: Insights from Destination Analysts on American Travel Trends & Sentiment show that coronavirus anxiety and pessimism are at an all-time low. Over 90% of American travelers have trips planned and more than 75% will take a trip in the next 3 months. Interestingly, a survey by Zeta Global shows that vaccinated Americans are still more hesitant to travel than un-vaccinated Americans and have higher concerns over the safety of their vacation.

Domestic Travel: Driving is still the safest way to travel and despite an expected increase in gas prices over the peak season, travelers are taking to the road with an increased confidence post-vaccination. The AAA recently launched the Great American Road Trip campaign to encourage safe travel during COVID. As for destinations, no change there! Easy drive-to destinations, national parks, natural wonders, secluded mountains, warm sunny beach escapes, and unique stays remain top trends for travelers in the post-vaccine era.

International Travel: Most of Europe is still off-limits to US travelers and with border restrictions changing daily, travelers are still choosing to stay closer to home. Mexico remains the most popular destination outside of the US with Cancún being the most booked international flight destination for Memorial Day weekend this year. The European Commission recently announced that tourist travel may soon open for vaccinated Americans, hopefully in the summer months.

Vacation Rental Demand: There’s been a lot of song and dance about the boom in the industry and the increased demand for vacation rentals. Vacation rental property managers in rural destinations have experienced a reduction in supply as homeowners work remotely from their summer vacation homes, but with a surge in vacation rental real estate sales, there is no time like the present to add new homeowners and properties to your portfolio.

Are you Prepared?

Peak season is fast approaching and vacation rentals for Memorial Day and the summer season are already scarce in trending vacation destinations. Travelers rebound fast to positive news but there are still endless variables for you and your guests to consider: CDC guidelines, local and state restrictions, vaccination updates, new emerging variants, the safety of your destination, and shifting hot spots.

Memorial Day Tips

Avoid the Memorial Day rush by communicating with your guests in advance. Use your property management software and a customized, voice-enabled concierge to update your guests prior to arrival and during their stay.

  • Self-check-in procedures
  • Memorial Weekend events (live and virtual)
  • Grocery delivery and local shopping options
  • Local safety protocols, guidelines, and restrictions
  • Reminder to make advance reservations for local attractions and activities

Travel planning is challenging but more important now than ever before! The lasting effects of the pandemic have altered travelers’ attitudes, behaviors, and expectations considerably and the level of comfort is different for each guest. Are you ready to shift with the changing tide, take your guest experience to a new level and ride the waves of summer success as we enter the post-vaccine era of travel.