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COVID-19 Related Travel Industry Trends

Updated Monthly

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 monthly for the foreseeable future. Links to recent news articles are also included below for additional insights into the travel landscape as it evolves.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Data for Air Travel

Air travel continues its overall comeback, but the drop in summer travel since its peak in July has started, and continues to fall short 2019 levels. The surge in Delta variant has slowed the recovery and recently airline travel in the US declined relative to the summer. The rolling 7 day average of travel is down 22% versus 2019, which is up from a 14% gap around the 4th of July. This points to people continuing to ignore CDC and government warnings against travel, as wells as pandemic fatigue which have combined to fuel the travel industry. We continue to fall short due to the limited international travel and lockdowns/restrictions that continue in regions like Canada, Europe and Australia, although the government recently announced that they would allowed vaccinated travelers into the United States from certain countries. Travel is now averaging 78% of the travel levels we saw in 2019. With the Delta variant hanging around and vaccine rates increasing slowly, it is hard to tell where this trend will go. But based on crowds now attending college and professional football games, we would expect the gap to stay about 80% or more in the coming months unless there is some government driven mandate that is enforced. We don’t expect to see 2019 air travel numbers until late in the year at the earliest, but now probably not until the summer of 2022.

Updated through October 14, 2021

US Hotel Occupancy Rates

Confirming that people have resumed traveling are US Hotel Occupancy rates, which continue to steadily climb. Over the summer they have reached 92% of 2019 occupancy rates and have since increased to 94% of 2019 rates. Hotel occupancy rates are running at 63.9% as of 10/9/2021, which is only down 5.3% compared to 2019 occupancy levels.

Updated through October 9, 2021

Pet Resort Google Search Trends

Google Search Trends show amazing growth in search interest, especially in dog boarding which surpassed 2019 summer numbers in 2021. We are starting to see the regular seasonal decline in dog boarding interest with the start of fall. Dog Grooming, Dog Daycare have also seen steady but slower increases, but we are now seeing normal seasonal decline in interest, but still at higher levels than 2019. Dog training continues to decline at a slow pace from its peak at the end of Feb 2021, but it is still significantly higher than pervious years. The growth in pet ownership during the pandemic is fueling much of the demand. This combined with the closing of a number of pet resorts, have pet owners searching for new solutions as they look to socialize their pets and begin traveling again.

Updated through October 14, 2021

Year Over Year Pet Resort Search Trends

Click the images to enlarge.

Dog Boarding 2019 vs 2020 vs 2021

Dog Daycare 2019 vs 2020 vs 2021

This is also supported by US Google Trends for the various services. Google Trends shows an amazing surge in interest in Dog Boarding far exceeding both 2020 and 2019 levels starting mid-March 2021. It reached its highest levels the week ending 6/19/21 and has started to decline more steeply than previously but still remains significantly over 2019 levels. Recent travel planning for the Fall shows a much stronger surge in interest than previous years. This surge in demand combined with the difficulty in hiring staff will continue to cause challenges for pet resort owners this fall.

Dog Daycare also has seen a similar surge in increase – again, driven by increased dog ownership and people wanting to get out of their house and socially acclimate their dogs. But with the start of fall, this has dropped back down to 2019 levels. So we don’t expect to see demand for dog daycare to grow as much as dog boarding this fall.

Updated October 10, 2021

Updated October 10, 2021

Dog Training 2019 vs 2020 vs 2021

Dog Grooming 2019 vs 2020 vs 2021

Dog training has now become more normalized and is returning to 2020 and 2019 levels. This would indicate a continued decrease in demand for dog training than what we have seen during the first part of the year.

We continue to see strong interest in dog grooming, significantly above 2019 and 2020 levels. We are seeing seasonal decline in search interest, but still running about 42% higher than 2019 for the past 4 weeks. We expect during fall this will continue to decline and then stabilize, still significantly above 2020 and 2019 levels – probably about 30%-40% over 2019 levels.

Updated October 10, 2021

Updated October 10, 2021

In Summary

If your pet resort business is not experiencing these surges in demand for services like dog boarding, dog daycare, pet grooming and dog training, please reach out to us so we can make sure pet owners can find your business online.