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AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL

Global Travel Trends Report

“As we look ahead to a return to travel later this year, we asked travelers from seven different countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, the United Kingdom and the United States, about what’s on their minds as they plan for or dream about their next trip. While individual sentiments differ, one thing is clear: there’s a pent-up demand for travel and a clear appreciation for the benefits that it can bring. In fact, people miss traveling so much that 76% of respondents surveyed are creating their destinations wish list for future travel even though they might not be able to travel yet1.” - Audrey Hendley, President of American Express Travel

Consumers Are Looking Forward to Traveling Again

Travel is not only about the destination; it’s about the entire experience. 2020 tested us, and in 2021 travelers are turning to planning future trips as a way to unwind, whether through wellness-focused experiences, culinary explorations or connections with families and friends. In fact, 64% of respondents miss traveling so much that they are willing to give up social media for a month to go on vacation safely1.

Travel to Uplift Health & Wellness

Travel to Uplift Health & Wellness

While consumers’ comfort levels with travel and the types of trips they choose to take may differ, we can all benefit from a little wanderlust. Eighty-seven percent of respondents agree that having a trip planned in the future gives them something to look forward to and say that planning future travel makes them feel excited (63%), happy (53%) and hopeful (53%). Additionally, 78% of respondents indicate wanting to travel in 2021 to relieve the stresses from 20201.

For travelers looking to unwind and relax, American Express Travel consultants recommend staying at hotels with a wide range of outdoor activities or wellness-Read Morefocused amenities. Those looking for the ultimate wellness experience can check out the Sensei Lana’i, a Fine Hotels + Resorts® property located on the secluded island of Lanai, known for its world-class spa, morning yoga classes, horseback riding and more. The Montage Laguna Beach situated high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is another great option with craftsman-style accommodations set on 30 acres of manicured grounds, where guests can enjoy breathtaking secluded beaches, a state of the art fitness center, signature spa treatments and an adults-only pool. Platinum Card® Members who book their stay at either property through American Express Travel can take advantage of an exclusive suite of benefits, including guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out, complimentary room upgrade when available, a US $100 experience credit unique to each property and more.Read Less

Consumers Plan Future Travel to Strengthen Relationships with Family & Loved Ones1

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Planning and Paying for Future Travel

Planning and Paying for Future Travel

Travelers are already thinking ahead to how they’ll book and pay for future trips. With the increase in flexible booking options, respondents are ready to book now, with 56% of respondents indicating that they miss traveling so much that they are willing to book a trip even if they might have to cancel it in the future1.

Read More “We’re seeing significant pent-up demand for cruises in 2022, not only from our loyal guests who cannot wait for their next cruise vacation, but we’re also encouraged to see interest from new guests looking to experience cruising for the first time. We look forward to doing what we love and once again sailing on the open seas and providing our guests with a great vacation experience.” - Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation Sixty-one percent of survey respondents plan to spend more than they normally would on a trip in 2021 since they could not travel in 2020. Additionally, sixty-three percent of respondents say they are saving their credit card points so they can go on a vacation once they feel comfortable traveling, and one in three respondents say they will likely use more travel credits or points to pay for all or part of a trip in 2021 than they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic1. Read Less

Culinary Tourism is Here To Stay

Culinary Tourism is Here To Stay

Travel gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in new cultures and experience local cuisines – from that first bite of deep-dish pizza in Chicago to homemade pasta in Rome. Sixty-four percent of solo traveler respondents agree that they want to take a foodie vacation and 62% of all respondents say that eating is the top activity they are interested in doing while traveling1.

American Express Travel booking data for January 2021 shows foodie centric cities as top destinations for U.S. and International Card Members. Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston are hot spots for U.S. American Read More Express® Card Members² whereas Mexico City, Singapore and Tokyo are topping the list for International American Express Card Members³. Read Less

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The New Travel Mindset

The 2021 traveler has a new energy and a new mentality - from the types of destinations that people are choosing to visit to the way they look at work/life balance to how they define luxury.

Rise of the Digital Nomad

Rise of the Digital Nomad

Flexible and remote work policies combined with unique incentives from hotels, like beach workstations and discounts on extended stays, have influenced the rise of the digital nomad - someone who lives and works while traveling the globe. In fact, 54% of respondents said that the freedom and flexibility of being able to live and work while traveling the globe is more appealing now than it was prior to the pandemic1.

According to American Express Travel Booking Data, the extended stay trend varies by region with Card Members in Mexico, Canada and the U.K. twice as likely to book a stay of eight or more days at a hotel than those in the U.S., India, Australia, and Japan4.

Read More “Our customers have traded home life for resort life by enjoying the chance to work anywhere at Marriott properties. Our goal is to provide the entire family with the opportunity to getaway and gift themselves the change of pace they have been craving. Guests are able to make the most of work, school, and leisure time with enhanced Wi-Fi, a business concierge, virtual school solutions, supervised kid’s activities, alternative office and study spaces, and more”. - Tammy Routh, Senior Vice President, Global Sales Organization at Marriott International Read Less

Consumers are Interested in Extended Trips to Experience New Destinations While Working Remotely1

The Changing Landscape of Luxury Travel

The Changing Landscape of Luxury Travel

The pandemic has changed peoples’ perception of luxury travel with personalized experiences (82%), high cleanliness standards (81%) and privacy (79%) being the most desirable luxury amenities among respondents. In fact, 80% indicate they are willing to travel to destinations during the offseason so that it's less crowded1. American Express Travel has also seen increased interest in customers searching for unique getaways and spacious, fully equipped villas on AmexTravel.com, such as the Waldorf Astoria Park City.

Read More "Privacy and exclusivity as well as wellness have been pushed to the forefront as consumers look for more intimate, impactful and purposeful travel. Luxury travel continues to blur the lines between the desire for privacy and experiential opportunities as consumers look for those safe yet unique travel moments that will make lifetime memories. Guests staying at properties within Hilton’s luxury portfolio want to know that we will go above and beyond to meet and exceed their needs- whether that be health and safety, travel coordination or simply providing an unforgettable and personalized experience. We expect to see more and more of this as we look ahead to the ever-evolving luxury travel landscape.” - Dino Michael, Senior Vice President and Global Category Head, Hilton Luxury Brands As the travel landscape is particularly complex right now, consumers are seeking out trusted travel advisors to help them navigate and plan their future travels. More than half of respondents (59%) indicate that they want to use a travel agent to help plan and customize their next trip1. American Express Travel offers customers access to more than 4,500 travel consultants who are on hand 24/7 to help consumers plan for, book and navigate current and future travels. Read Less

Surge in ‘Second City’ Vacation Destinations

Surge in ‘Second City’ Vacation Destinations

As many travelers look to avoid the crowds, 69% of respondents are interested in visiting lesser-known destinations1. American Express Travel booking data reinforces this trend, showing a rise in reservations for second-city destinations. For example, Dallas and Charlotte saw a higher share of bookings from International Card Members in January 2021 than the previous year5. American Express Travel consultants are also seeing requests for smaller cities like Porto (instead of Lisbon) in Portugal, and Wellington (instead of Auckland) in New Zealand. Some customers are open to going “anywhere” they can safely travel right now.

Traveling With Purpose

Consumers are becoming more conscious travelers with an increased desire to book their travel through companies that are aligned with their values and will journey to destinations where they can have a positive impact on communities. Fifty-nine percent of respondents agree that they are interested in 'philantourism', the act of choosing vacation or experience in order to support a destination through tourism1.

Backing Local Communities

Backing Local Communities

Travelers want to support small businesses and communities that make a destination unique. Seventy-two percent of respondents agree that they are passionate about traveling to destinations to help boost tourism revenue and the local economy, and 77% agree that they want to be more conscious about supporting small, local businesses while traveling1.

Read More “At Micato, we back the local community because we are the local community. My parents, who founded the company 55 years ago, live in Africa and our guides and many other full-time staff live there, so for decades the approach of Micato and our nonprofit AmericaShare has been a long-term one. Our School Sponsorship Programme, in which Micato travellers and travel advisors sponsor children for boarding school, and the Micato One for One Commitment, through which we send a child to school for every guest on safari, have a lasting impact on both the individuals and local communities they live in.” - Anna Pinto, Executive Director of Sales for Micato Safaris Read Less

Consumers Surveyed are Eager to Support Local Communities Through Travel1

Supporting Travel Brands that Prioritize Diversity & Inclusion

Supporting Travel Brands that Prioritize Diversity & Inclusion

Travelers expect the brands they support to align with their values and are more mindful of booking with those who believe in fostering diversity and inclusion within the travel industry.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents agree that they want to choose an airline/hotel that values diversity and inclusion, and whose employees reflect a diverse customer base1.

Carbon Conscious Travelers

Carbon Conscious Travelers

Fifty-five percent of respondents say they are interested in 'carbon negative' travel and 60% agree they want to book airlines that have a carbon neutral commitment1.

Read More “Making air travel sustainable is not only something that our customers care deeply about but it’s core to our long-term vision as a company to protect the planet that we serve. Last year, we made a $1 billion commitment to become the first carbon-neutral airline globally and have continued to make progress towards this goal by reducing fuel burn through operational efficiencies and replacing older aircraft with newer, more efficient planes.” - Bob Somers, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Delta American Express Travel provides Card Members with information and options to help them make conscious travel decisions including making it easy for Card Members to plan eco-friendly hotel stays through our partner programs, insights and tools. In addition, while traveling, consumers can find places to Shop Small® at American Express® Card-accepting businesses on the Shop Small map. Read Less

Of consumers agree they are trying to be more aware of sustainability-friendly travel brands to support

“Travelers are eager to experience the world again and are starting to plan their next once-in-a-lifetime trip. From celebratory moments to relaxing vacation getaways, travel allows us to step away and truly enjoy the simple pleasures in life. We look forward to turning our customers’ dreams into a reality soon.” – Audrey Hendley, President of American Express Travel

Find out how to make the most of your next trip, whenever you are ready to travel, through American Express Travel and visit our COVID-19 Information Hub to learn more about the ways in which American Express Travel can help you navigate through travel today.

1 This Amex Trendex online poll was conducted by Morning Consult between January 15-24, 2021 among a national sample of 1,000 travelers in Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, U.K., and 2,000 in the US. $70k USD+ household income (HHI) equivalent in Australia, Canada, Japan, U.K., and the U.S., $50k USD equivalent HHI in Mexico, and $20k USD equivalent household income in India. Travelers defined as adults who traveled by air at least once in 2019. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points in in U.S.; plus or minus 3 percentage points in the other countries.
2 Based on U.S. Card Member flight and hotel bookings made in January 2021
3 Based on International Card Member flight and hotel bookings made in January 2021
4 Based on active status American Express Travel hotel transactions booked in January 2021.
5 Based on International Card Member hotel and air bookings made through American Express Travel in January 2021 compared to January 2020 and 2019.
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