Holiday Travel Metrics Imply 2022 Won’t Be 2020, Too
January 13, 2022 at 15:54 PM EST
After a busy air travel season this Thanksgiving, the Christmas travel season was expected to display similar strength. But news headlines were dominated by a record amount of COVID-19 staffing-related flight cancellations starting around Christmas Eve. While resulting in some initial concern for the sector, underlying passenger flight data suggests that bookings and consumer demand are still strong, and most of the current capacity issues seem relatively short-term compared to 2020 and early 2021 disruptions. The leisure travel sector, as measured by the S-Network Global Travel Index (TRAVEL) showed resiliency to these late 2021 headwinds and stayed essentially flat during the past month. First of all, airline stocks held up relatively well during the disruptions—perhaps offsetting short-term uncertainty with the long-term demand outlook. Additionally, the TRAVEL index represents the broader leisure travel sector with a 25% weighting (as of January 7, 2022) to ancillary beneficiaries like consumer goods and services companies, which may be less sensitive to travel disruptions and can benefit more from consumer sentiment and retail spending.