COVID-19 Related Travel Industry Trends
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel industry continues to be far-reaching and rapidly evolving. And since pet resorts and the travel industry are inextricably linked, it’s important now more than ever to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
In an effort to track and interpret current trends in the travel industry, free from political or media bias, we have compiled a collection of reliable data sources that provide an overview of travel patterns and transit methods. These sources include:
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Data for Air Travel
- Energy Information Agency (EIA) data for Gasoline Retail Supply
- U.S. Hotel Occupancy Rates
This information will be updated weekly for the foreseeable future. Links to recent news articles are also included below for additional insights into the travel landscape as it evolves.
Pet Resort Google Search Trends
Google Trends shows Dog Boarding continues to be show a lower interest than the prior year, and January is starting at the lower point, but reached similar levels last week to both 2020 and 2021 during the slowest part of the season. Dog Daycare search interest continues to show reasonable interest matching last January so far this year. Dog grooming has shown significant increase in interest since Christmas, surpassing interest in January from both 2019 and 2020. Dog training search interest skyrocketed around Christmas and continues to be above both 2019 and 2020 January levels.
Updated January 24, 2021
Year Over Year Pet Resort Search Trends
Click the images to enlarge.
Dog Boarding 2019 vs 2020
We have updated these charts to show relative indexes for each individual search versus combining the 4. This allows us to see more detailed trends, and dog boarding has almost approached last year’s levels, and we will have to continue to monitor to see if it sustains last fall’s search levels.
At the beginning of January, Dog Boarding was running 28%-32% behind 2020 interest levels, but last week was 2.7% above 2020, which is the first positive sign we have seen. But since this is the slow season, we wouldn’t recommend reading too much into that trend. With the vaccine rollout happening slower than expected, we still don’t see any positive movement in boarding interest until late summer or early fall.
Updated January 24, 2021
Dog Daycare 2019 vs 2020
Dog Daycare continues to be one of the more stable services and has reached the highest levels since the summer. We had 2 weeks above 2020 levels, and last week search interest was only 5% behind 2020 levels. We would expect that to continue and be a good sign for the start of the year.
Updated January 24, 2021
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Data for Air Travel
As of 1/28/2021, TSA Passenger Throughput continues to struggle and has dropped to around 34% of last year’s level. There was a surge over the Christmas holidays with the rolling averages ramping up to a high of 47.7% of last’year’s level as of 1/4/2021, but unfortunately that gain has disappeared. Travel has been dropping since the end of the 1st week in January. Regardless of the news around the vaccine, we believe the airline industry will continue to struggle and have a long road to recovery, thus negatively impacting the pet boarding industry.
Updated January 28, 2021
US Hotel Occupancy Rates
Hotel Occupancy continues to run about 40% of capacity, more than 30% behind occupancy levels last year. This shows some level of improvement from the 35% overall decrease in occupancy over the summer compared to last week. This again supports the fact that boarding will continue to struggle since people are not traveling as much.
Energy Information Agency (EIA) data for Gasoline Retail Supply
We have decided to stop tracking Gasoline Supply as it has not provided much change and continues to run about 11% behind over the last few months.
As the travel landscape continues to evolve around the world, we will see new health and safety protocols and the gradual return of tourists and business travelers.
As the Secretary-General of the UN’s World Tourism Organization observed:
For our valued Pet Resort partners, your business is already based on the trust your clients place in you to care for their pets with as much loving attention as they would receive at home. Trust in the coronavirus climate expands that understanding to include increased cleaning measures to protect pets, clients and employees, flexibility when making reservations, and confidence that you will stand ready to serve your community and especially front-line workers.
Check back often for up-to-date intel for making informed decisions regarding your pet resort business. We will continue to monitor the data and media coverage of travel trends in support of your efforts to serve your community and their beloved pets.