After a complete halt to business and travel activity in March and April, the travel industry is beginning to show signs of life. In some segments, demand is above previous levels due to changes in behavior rand pent-up demand. As the summer nears and after months of being cooped up inside, people are itching to take trips but opting for shorter getaways that allow for "social distancing" in lieu of far-flung destinations.
Short Trips in Vogue
Vacation rental websites like Airbnb, Expedia
However, some behavior remains far from normal such as traveling on planes or staying in hotels that are riskier due to increased contact with people. TSA travel data shows about 400,000 people are traveling through airports which remains well below the 2 million average of the same time period last year. But, this is still a major improvement from under 100,000 in late-March and early-April. Therefore, international bookings haven't rebounded at all.
It makes sense that people are opting for local trips while avoiding large groups or confined spaces. Another segment of the travel industry that is exploding is outdoor travel like camping or RVs. This is evident in the price action of Winnebago
Despite these silver linings, the impact on the travel industry has been brutal. Airbnb expects 2020 revenue to be half of last year. After a decade of uninterrupted growth, Airbnb had to cut 25% of its staff and temporarily shelve plans for its IPO. Its valuation has also somewhat deflated from $31 billion to $25 billion following its latest round of fundraising. Booking's CEO said that the coronavirus will impact global travel more than 9/11, the financial crisis, and SARS combined.
Due to being able to work from home, people are taking longer, domestic trips rather than a shorter, international trip. This behavior shift has created winners and losers. Companies like Airbnb, Booking, and Expedia are exposed to positive and negative trends. Hotels and airlines are more exposed to negative trends. At some point, things will return to normal and there will be pent-up demand for international trips and hotels, but it's uncertain whether that will be in months or years.