The "New Normal" of Summer Travel
By Seth Pollack, Director of Strategy & Insights, Nice-Pak Products, Inc.
As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, our thoughts turn to beaches, hiking, reconnecting with loved ones and, of course, travel. The airline industry expects record passenger levels in the coming months, and the American Automobile Association predicts that driving will reach pre-pandemic levels starting this holiday weekend, as COVID-19 restrictions fully lift and consumers feel confident to hit the road.
Ever since the pandemic began, Nice-Pak Insights has been gathering quantitative data and qualitative insight on the shifting landscape of consumer needs, including their desire to protect themselves when they leave the safety of their homes. These insights are important to Nice-Pak, where protecting people through products that improve health and wellbeing are a strategic pillar of our environmental and social impact plans.
Along with our research partner, 360 Market Reach, we conduct a monthly consumer panel that captures their sentiments in real-time. Recently, we asked these community members about their summer plans and if they felt comfortable travelling this year. While their attitudes towards travel are much improved from their COVID-era sentiment, there are new anxieties – from higher costs to schedule disruptions -- that are adding to lingering COVID-19 concerns.
Most of our panel are planning some form of getaway this summer now that things are “back to normal.” Despite consumer reservations over higher gasoline prices, automobile travel tops the list of summer activities, with respondents citing the safety of sharing their “travelling space” with familiar companions.
It was clear from our panel that people are not letting COVID-19 dictate their plans anymore. In fact, many panelists who plan to stay home did not cite COVID-19 as a factor. But there are new worries – like flight delays and inflationary pressures – that add to already heightened tensions. Continued hygiene protection continues to be important, with consumers on our panel maintaining their practice of masking, hand sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces.
“I still feel there needs to be added protection when there are many passengers onboard, especially on planes, cruises, trains and other full-capacity modes of transportation.”
“I’m still concerned about possible variants with the virus and will continue many of the cleaning and safety practices I started in 2020.”
Many will adjust their personal hygiene to the mode of transportation, and layer protection for crowded places like flights and trains. As one person in our panel noted, “different modes of transportation have different comfort levels.” The larger the crowd, the more layers of protection.
As we continue to live with COVID-19, Nice-Pak will listen to consumer sentiments, and continue to offer products from Nice ‘N CLEAN® Sani-Hands travel packs to our popular Nice ‘N CLEAN® disinfecting wipes that help consumers feel comfortable despite the stresses of travel. Whether you are headed to a destination near or far this summer, we have you covered!