Italy, Beaches and Ocean Cruising: Surveys Reveal Virtuoso’s Top Consumer Picks and Encouraging Intentions to Travel
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Surveys of Virtuoso’s travel agency members, preferred partners and consumers, as well as transactional data, reveal travel trends including booking tendencies, top destinations of interest, and consumers’ willingness to travel.

One survey of its travel agency members forecasts leisure travel bookings to return and stabilize in six months to a year.  

Here’s what else Virtuoso travel advisors are saying:

  • Across all regions, domestic beach/island destinations and ocean cruises make up the majority of new bookings
  • Flexible cancellation or rebooking policies are by far the most import factor for clients when booking international trips, ahead of both cleaning and safety protocols and the COVID-19 infection rate in the destination


Virtuoso also surveyed consumers and found travellers plan on staying close to home through 2020, but many hope to travel during the festive holiday season and into 2021. Here are some more insights:


Fall Travel 

  • 79% of travellers polled would take part in a travel pod (defined as two or more households whose members have been following similar quarantine and social-distancing practices that make plans to vacation together) 
  • 76% want to take a beach vacation
  • 100% of 18- to 25-year-olds are ready to travel, dropping to about 50% for those 41 and up 
  • 70% are travelling less than 1,500 miles from home
  • 43% are booking hotels two weeks or less before their stay
  • Popular hotel attributes include seclusion, private swimming pools and golf 
  • 66% are willing to fly, but they want the middle seat open. An empty middle seat now determines airline loyalty, and 73% said they would pay extra for an airline ticket to get an empty middle seat. 


Holiday Travel 

  • Approximately 40% are considering travelling during the 2020 holiday season. They have either booked their plans or are waiting to see how conditions evolve and will book closer to the date. 
  • 59% are willing to take an international flight, pending travel restrictions
  • Perennial favourites such as the Caribbean and Mexico remain at the top of the list


Looking Ahead: 2021 Cruising Travel 

  • 37% of Virtuoso travellers polled said they would cruise right now 
  • 2021 cruise bookings are outpacing 2018
  • River cruising is up 14% in 2021
  • Ocean cruising is down, but less than 10% 


Reviewing insights from its Wanderlist app, here’s what Virtuoso says are the most popular destinations:



  1. Italy
  2. South Africa
  3. Australia
  4. France
  5. Japan


U.S. Domestic:

  1. Washington 
  2. Hawaii
  3. California
  4. Alaska
  5. Montana
Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ’s newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she’s new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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