Strategic Vision’s 2021 Pulse of the Industry survey has good news for travel providers, and perhaps, particularly private aviation providers
“Affluent travelers have been constrained by the pandemic, and they’re intent on fulfilling their travel dreams as soon as they’re able,” said Peter J. Bates, President and Founder of Strategic Vision.
He noted, “Our research shows this pent-up demand is generating keen interest in safaris, European vacations, and far-flung destinations — if not in the immediate term, then in the near future. At the same time, luxury travelers are being careful and following the science on vaccines, testing, and therapeutics.”
Slightly less than half of the consumers surveyed (48%) said they feel somewhat or very positive about their leisure travel outlook in 2021, while 44% said they feel somewhat or very negative. Those with an optimistic outlook feel that sentiment more intensely than the pessimists: 14% identified as “very positive” and indicated they would definitely be traveling in 2021, whereas only 4% said they felt “very negative” and don’t plan to travel at all.
Further, a slight majority of travelers (53%) said they had already booked a trip for 2021, with another 41% saying they’re likely to do so. More of these 2021 travelers are planning trips for the second half of the year than the first. Two-thirds of respondents signaled their intention to book a trip for 2022 or beyond.
In terms of private aviation usage, for respondents who have a Household Income of at least $400,000, 82% said they had not flown privately prior to the pandemic. Only 6% said they were frequent private aviation users.
An analysis by McKinsey estimated only around 100,000 private aviation users before COVID-19 out of up to 1.5 million U.S. households that have the financial resources to charter private jets.
Of respondents who said they used private aviation since the pandemic lockdowns began in March 2020, 71% said they intend to continue flying privately once the pandemic is over.
In terms of travel 2021 plans, 57% said they are very/somewhat willing to consider private aviation. A further 18% said they were somewhat unwilling with 35% saying they are very unwilling to fly privately.
As a comparison, only 12% said they are very/somewhat willing to take a cruise. Nearly half (47%) said they are considering renting a private home or villa.
Despite the surge in newcomers to private aviation, 82% of respondents said they haven’t used private aviation since the beginning of the pandemic, inferring there is still a largely untapped market.
About a quarter of respondents (24%) have an HHI of $400,000 +, with 29% saying their HHI is $1 million +. The survey was conducted in November and December. Leading luxury travel agencies identified respondents, and all respondents were active clients who had made at least one international trip in 2019.