Research: Americans’ summer travel will meet or exceed pre-pandemic levels

After a year of social distancing, Americans are optimistic about summer travel, with 51% of consumers stating that they are going to travel as much or more than in pre-COVID times.

This is one of the key findings from “Consumer Insights and Intent: Q2 2021 Summer Travel,” the latest research report from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the national trade association for the entire out of home (OOH) and DOOH media ecosystem, conducted by The Harris Poll. In fact, more than half (56%) are expecting to travel 201-plus miles across the U.S.—with 42% of Americans who will vacation this summer planning to take a full two weeks or more off for travel. While the car is still viewed as the safest mode of transportation during the pandemic (95%), Americans are growing significantly more comfortable with other forms of transportation: planes (59%), trains (56%), ride share (50%) and subway (38%) compared to last spring.

The survey also confirms that these trends are in sync with consumers’ renewed appreciation for being outside—especially among urbanites in larger cities (one million+). Since January, there has been a four-point increase in big city dwellers stating that they are noticing OOH more now than before the pandemic began.

In addition, more than half (51%) of these urbanites say that they will be going out of town for a concert, sporting event or theater show this summer. Out-of-home advertising has a significant opportunity to influence these big city consumers, since they are likely to become aware of concerts (44%) and sporting events (37%) from OOH.

The research also shows that OOH is driving Americans online to seek more information about advertisers: half of consumers (49%) say they have used an online search to lookup information about an advertiser from OOH. Plus, a third say that they have been prompted by OOH advertising to engage in additional activities on their smartphones, and the same say that out of home ads have inspired them to access digital coupons or promo codes. The percentage who are motivated by OOH ads to search online is even higher among consumers living in heavily populated cities (60%).

“After the challenges of lockdown, it’s great to see that consumers are embracing the prospect of travel and planning to be out-and-about this summer,” said Anna Bager, president/CEO, OAAA. “This research confirms that Americans are beginning to move beyond the pandemic—and that OOH has the power to influence their summer activities.”

John Gerzema, CEO, The Harris Poll, added, “With ‘revenge spending’ building up and Americans hoping to let loose this summer, OOH will play a critical role. Americans are excited about travel and summer fun. Pair that with increases in awareness of OOH advertising from big city consumers and strong traction with other audiences too, and you have a significant opportunity for OOH.”

“Consumer Insights and Intent: Q2 2021 Summer Travel” was sponsored by The Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research and Education (FOARE), a 501 (c) (3) not for profit, charitable organization. It was released as part of the Future Proof: OOH Media Conference from the OAAA and Geopath.

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