56 percent of travelers told Discover that they will use contactless payment methods more often when traveling this year.
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Most of the news about travel may have focused on health and safety since the pandemic over a year ago. However, cost and booking flexibility are even more important for Americans who want to get away from it all, according to Discover Financial Services.
The credit card company’s latest annual travel survey, published on Tuesday, shows that the 70% of consumers willing to travel put price and flexibility into consideration when considering a trip before the spread of Covid variants, infection rates at travel destinations or cleanliness ratings of accommodations. In addition, 87% of respondents said that cost was an important factor when booking, and 86% said the flexibility of the cancellation policy.
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Health and safety concerns, meanwhile, lagged behind in price, but not by much: 80% now pointed to news about Covid variants and / or the number of new infections at a destination, and 74% said they would prioritize disinfection efforts in the manufacturing process a choice of accommodation.
“It is clear that as the summer months begin and the economic recovery continues, consumers have a strong desire to travel again,” said Jacob Ayoub, Vice President of Consumer and Competitive Insights at Discover, in a statement. “We know that travel trends and consumer needs will continue to shift, but it’s important to note that US consumers are currently considering cost, flexibility and the spread of Covid-19 while traveling.”
The survey also looked at which Americans travel and why (see graph below).
In some cases, willingness to spend more is associated with health and safety concerns. For example, half of all respondents told Discover that they would be more likely to go for more expensive trips if they included stricter Covid-19 hygiene protocols, and 49% would invest in priority passports to avoid crowds. Two out of three travelers surveyed said they continued to wear masks when traveling – even if they weren’t required to. 62% said they are reluctant to use modes of transport where they are in close proximity to strangers.
When it comes to paying, 55% of Discover travelers told Discover that credit cards are the preferred method – a 16 point jump from 2019. This could be related to another survey finding that 56% are more likely to use contactless payment options when they’re on the road. Speaking of credit cards: around a third of those surveyed also stated that they redeem card loyalty points for holiday-related expenses.
Research firm Dynata conducted the survey for Discover Financial Services April 23-28 of 2,000 US adults aged 18 and over.