As COVID restrictions begin to relax around the country and the number of vaccinated Americans is on the rise; travel and events are coming back following an 18-month hiatus. After a year of lockdowns, 2021 is set to welcome wanderlust and celebrations back into our lives.
Vaxication Nation: Travel Returns
According to the Harris Poll COVID-19 Survey, more than half of us have started to plan (35%) or booked (16%) a future vacation. While road trips and camping started making a return last year, the options for travel have been sharply increasing since February of 2021:
- Airlines have reached a record high for bookings and the TSA has reported their largest volume of screenings in a year.
- Hotels and resorts are offering expanded options for the new travel landscape.
- Many theme parks and attractions have reopened in time to welcome Spring Break travelers.
While the available options for travelers certainly don't match their pre-pandemic peak, there's plenty available to welcome us on our vaxications, family visits, and other trips.
Events are Not Just an Eventuality
While more than half of us reported being ready for travel, in the same poll, a large majority (72%) said we're ready to attend medium or large-size gatherings. Paired with the same easing restrictions that have enabled the return of travel, the events industry is perfectly poised for a comeback too:
- The CDC has changed its guidelines for gatherings to include information on maintaining healthy environments and operations which points to a quick timeline for events to resume.
- The federal government intends to buy 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, enough to vaccinate most of the U.S. population by summer which would reduce risk right on time for the peak season for cook-outs, concerts, weddings, and other events.
These signs as well as emerging trends point to events filling the calendar in the 2nd half of 2021.
Getting Back to Groups
Travel and events are the ideal hosts for groups of all sizes. As these areas move forward into reopening and vaccinations expand our social bubbles, it's the right time to start group planning once again. Whether planning a trip or an event, we could all use the social bonding and unique experiences that come with going as a group.
As we embrace these returns to our favorite destinations and celebrations, the importance of safety can't be overstated. We all know to keep up to date on the protocols for your destination, wear masks and maintain proper social distance, and ensure sure hotels, restaurants, and attractions are taking the proper precautions to protect our groups. We can also start the process safely by embracing contactless planning, management, and payment as we #GroupForward in 2021.