For many Americans, the COVID-19 lockdowns are over, and people are ready to pack up a suitcase and leave their hometowns for a much-awaited vacation. 2020 may have confined us to our own four walls, but there’s no denying that in 2021, travel is back in a big way.
We analyzed visit data from January 1, 2021, through May 7, 2021, to determine where vacationers are traveling in a post-COVID world.
It shouldn’t be too surprising the most-visited vacation destination on our list is Walt Disney World in Florida. After a year like 2020, it’s very likely that families were eager to take the highly-coveted trip with their children.
The Las Vegas Strip came in as the second most-visited travel destination. This could be due to rescheduled bachelor and bachelorette parties, couples deciding to elope instead of replanning their weddings, or perhaps just a fun all-inclusive getaway.
More surprisingly, Manhattan is the third most-visited vacation getaway. Despite strict COVID-19 restrictions, vacationers still flocked to the most popular borough in New York City. It’s possible that travelers decided to vacation there because it became more affordable to stay at a hotel than it used to be pre-pandemic.
Visits Per Unique Visitor
When people travel, they often visit multiple places in the same area, depending on the destination. The vacation destination with the highest number of visits per unique visitor is the Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas is a bustling metropolis with a lot to offer its visitors—restaurants, shows, nightlife, and, yes, casinos. On the other hand, Manhattan is known for its vast array of things to do for any kind of tourist, but COVID-19 restrictions that were in place for much of 2021 surely impacted whether or not local attractions were open to tourists. Still, visits per unique visitor are higher to Manhattan because there are more restaurant and shopping options in New York than in most other places.
The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and Mount Rushmore have the least amount of visits per unique visitor. All three of these locations are major parks and, while they are big travel destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, each are the main tourist attractions in the area. Walt Disney World has everything their visitors need right there on site, meaning that many tourists never need to leave the parks. This could explain why these vacation destinations don’t see as many visits during the same trip.
How Far Did Consumers Travel?
Looking at the average distance traveled to these vacation destinations can tell us a lot about the people who travel to a specific vacation spot and why they may be going there. Vacationers traveled the farthest to visit Venice Beach in Los Angeles, Manhattan, and the Las Vegas Strip. This suggests that these locations are once-in-a-lifetime destinations that many vacationers are willing to travel to from even across the country.
Visitors to Yosemite National Park, Niagara Falls, and Mount Rushmore didn’t travel as far compared to the other travel destinations. This could indicate that these are popular destinations among road trippers and vacationers in the region looking for a drivable weekend getaway.
One of the most interesting takeaways from this data is that visitors to Walt Disney World traveled just 776 miles, on average. Our data shows that many of Disney World’s recent vacationers are Floridians who chose Disney World for a getaway. Paying for airfare, lodging, and theme park access may be more than people who live further away are willing to spend, especially with Disneyland on the West Coast.
Consumer Travel Insights with Location Intelligence
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that we travel and the types of places we visit. Some of us have traded the excitement of the Las Vegas Strip for the adventure of the great outdoors and our National Parks, while others still opted to brave the crowds of Manhattan and Walt Disney World. Location intelligence can provide companies with the insights they need to keep up with these and other changes in consumer travel trends.
For more information on how location intelligence can help your brand stay informed on shifting consumer trends, contact us to speak with an expert today.