Highlights from Recent Abacus Survey Show Past Visitors Want to Support Local

The survey was conducted by Abacus Data with 2,000 residents deemed ‘travellers’, aged 18 and older from November 9 to 21, 2020.  The key findings are listed below.  This is the second survey conducted since July 2020 to determine traveller sentiment.
With the holiday shopping season underway, #4 in the list below has useful information about where to focus marketing events – on those who have been to your business in the past. Note that 75% of survey respondents want to support local operators in places they usually travel. 
Key Findings
  1. There is still a general apprehension to travel during a pandemic. Like in the early summer/spring less than 10% say they are willing to jump right back into travel.  This is likely due to a combination of factors including: comfort levels, different mindset in the ‘second wave’, finding activities that are both appealing and within public health guidelines, changing budget priorities (i.e. preferring to spend more on things at home), and more. Further analysis of these factors is to be conducted.
  2. There is still a group of Ontarians who want to travel. 15% are comfortable making travel plans in December, 15% in January, and 17% in February. And there is a pent-up desire for travel as well. 88% didn’t travel as much as they usually do this past summer/fall. And 41% say they want to take at least one trip before the year is over.

    There are indications that this group still has intentions to travel before the year is over - and some indications that case count is not the driving factor, or at least is only part of the picture. In our scenario test 34% say it’s likely they will book a trip in December assuming they see a decrease in cases. 29% are likely to book a trip in December even if case counts hold steady.
  3. Conversely, there is also a group that continues to be apprehensive to travel during the pandemic. 57% say they don’t see themselves travelling during the pandemic for the foreseeable future. Understanding the concerns of this group will also be important. Is it the comfort levels of the activities they like to do? Concerns about contracting the virus or a perceived lack of activities and accommodations that are suitable? Understanding what drives this group will be helpful to understand how we can convert these people to ‘travellers’ once again. 
  4. One clear positive for tourism operators. 75% say that finding ways to support the local businesses in the areas they usually travel is important to them. During the holiday season this desire to support will likely be the strongest so operators should look to communicate to their past visitors about ways they can support the attraction/accommodation during this time. 

A full report will be created from these findings over the next few weeks.  If you have questions about the survey results, please contact Kim Clarke, kclarke@rto7.ca

Views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the blog comments section belong solely to the comments' authors and are not necessarily those of Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7), its Board of Directors or its staff.

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