The coronavirus hit the travel industry hard. Flights in the U.S. were down by almost 75% in mid-May compared to last year. The cruise industry ground to a halt, with vacant ships moored off coasts around the world. Hotels and resorts closed, and millions of hotel employees in the U.S. were out of work.
But stuck at home, many Americans chose to at least dream about travel.
RentCafé, a nationwide apartment search website, surveyed 15,000 site visitors about how COVID-19 affected their travel plans. They looked at travel-related Google (GOOGL) - Get Report searches for over 200 popular U.S. vacation spots and found that searches dropped by 64% in March and April, compared to the same period last year.
About 22% of survey respondents said they had had travel plans at the time of the shutdown, plans that included city destinations, travel abroad, beach getaways, road trips, nature vacations and cruises. About 40% had canceled their plans altogether, and about 52% of respondents said they have no plans to travel after the pandemic, and of those with plans, about half expected to travel by car.
It’s not surprising that travel searches plunged during the shutdown. For places like Brooklyn, N.Y., searches dropped by 78%. Based on RentCafé’s study, these are the destinations with the smallest drops in travel-related searches compared to one year prior.