Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Checking in on the Travel Industry

Jocelyn Bauer
April 6, 2021
Checking in on the Travel Industry

With 2020 behind us and signs of recovery abound, we checked back in on the travel industry to see how it’s been rebounding thus far and what 2021 could have in store for hotels and airports. 

Year-Over-Year Comparison 

Last time we checked in, visits to airports were rebounding at the end of the year following the holidays, and that progress continued into 2021.  Almost every airport showed year-over-year growth from the end of 2020 into the new year.  Only DFW airport in Dallas showed an increase in the year-over-year gap between January and February  - likely because of the unprecedented weather the state experienced at the beginning of the new year. 

And while March data is obviously skewed because of the pandemic-driven restrictions from 2020, airport traffic also showed impressive month-over-month growth in the new year. Visits from January to February 2021 showed only a minor dip -  a relative success considering the weather issues in February and the fewer number of overall days. And then visits grew exponentially from February to March, with all airports hitting new heights.  DFW showed the highest month-over-month growth with 81.7%, followed by O’Hare and LAX with 67.8% and 58.7% growth respectively. 

And, month-over-month for hotels showed just how strong consumer demand is becoming.  Traffic was already up between January and February for all hotels analyzed even though February was affected by severe weather and had fewer overall days. And, visits grew even stronger into the spring with traffic soaring in March month over month.

The sudden and dramatic increases in traffic may seem obvious with the country lifting almost all travel restrictions now. The final weeks of March only prove that narrative further with traffic for both airports and hotels showing tremendous year-over-year growth for the end of the month.   

A More Effective Comparison

Given the unconventional circumstances the travel industry faced, we also took a closer look at a more effective comparison, by comparing 2021 numbers to the equivalent periods in 2019. 

When looking at the hotel industry, the year-over-year visits gap was  29.5% and 31.7% down in January and February respectively, and 77.1% up in March.  Yet, the March numbers are skewed by the pandemic’s initial wave of closures. Looking at 2021 numbers from January, February and March compared to 2019 provides a much more accurate picture of the progress taking place. While visits were down 25.5% and 20.1% in January and February compared to the same months in 2019, by March that gap had shrunk to just 7.6%. This indicates a very powerful recovery that could bring this sector back to a degree of normalcy by Q2.

When doing the same comparison for the airports, we see a similar pattern.  Year-over-year growth was down 54.8% and 53.6% respectively in January and February, but of course traffic shot up in March to 23.0% up.  When comparing this to January and February 2019 numbers, we see numbers that are almost identical, and March is where the significant step forward takes place.

So, while the effects of COVID are certainly lingering and will continue to have an impact on the overall industry, the declines are not nearly as bad as people may have thought. 

Will the travel industry continue to rebound? If so, how strong will the growth be throughout 2021?  Check back in with to find out. 

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap