Travel Trends 2021

Hi, this is June at Die Heimat Country Inn. It feels like we are just coming out of a long cold winter and that spring is finally here. At least here in Iowa, we’re getting some warmer temperatures than we’ve had over the last few weeks. Still have lots of snow on the ground, but I think maybe things are going to be changing here pretty soon. And in other ways, too, it feels like maybe it’s going to be safe to do a few more things than we did in this past year. I know Marc and I just got our first vaccine and we get our second one next week. And we’re going to be feeling a lot more confident about meeting people here and as well as maybe going someplace ourselves. So I hope you’re feeling that way too.

I have been reading a little bit about travel trends in 2021, and I thought I’d share some of those with you and just see if they resonate with your experience or if you have a completely different view. But, it seems like from what I’ve been reading on some travel forums and TripAdvisor, that international travel might pick up the second half of 2021, but that many people are still not quite ready to get on a plane. So a lot of travel is still by car. Which means that a really easy day trip, or traveling in a day, would be about 300 miles. I know Marc and I love road trips and we are willing to get in a car and drive a whole lot more miles than that in one day. But, just for your information, all the major US Midwest cities are less than 300 miles from the Amana Colonies. If you’re in Chicago or Minneapolis/St. Paul, Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, those are all less than 300 miles to the Amana Colonies. And of course, many towns and villages in between. So, just to say that we are really quite an easy driving distance for lots and lots of people to come visit.

So it seems like people are continuing to look for things that are a little bit more local, they might call it even a staycation, but not quite ready to get on the plane. They’re looking for rest and rejuvenation. They’re looking for places that are quaint and charming. And also people are looking for a lot of outdoor activities. It seems like they’re still not quite ready to go to places where it might be closed in, a lot of people, but wanting to still spread out a little bit and experience outdoor activities. So I would say on all of those counts, the Amana Colonies rate really high. And we are rural and you can spread out here. I try to let you know about the special weekends or festivals when things are planned here that are outdoors, a combination of indoor and outdoor. But at any time you really can… There’s nature trails. There’s a Lily Lake trail. And there are just a lot of wide open spaces here.

So those are some things that people are looking for. And people are also not able to yet plan ahead really far. And we noticed that a lot last year. The uncertainty was just amazing for all of us, and it continues. People are still not quite certain if everybody in their party is going to want to travel or if everybody’s been vaccinated. So it used to be even we would notice people would book way out, six months, five months, four months ahead. But now the really common thing is just to go kind of month by month as people can plan. And so we’re willing to go with that. We’re kind of realizing that that is the reality. And so if you want to book a stay here, don’t worry if it’s last minute, you can always check. Because a lot of other people are waiting till the last minute, we often have availability.

So as you know, last year, the hospitality business and ours included, was hit very hard and we had way fewer guests than normal. And then winter came, and it’s very, very normal for winter to be very quiet here in Iowa. It is our off season. But now it seems like maybe this next year, we’re going to be able to host more guests under the circumstances that I’ve just mentioned. And I think another thing I noticed that travelers are still wanting are some of the safety protocols, keep things cleaned in a specific way. We are certainly doing that, continuing that. We’re not ready to bring back our breakfast buffet yet. You’ll be served at your table, seated with the people that you came with and not a whole bunch of strangers packed into the dining room like it used to be, which was a lot of fun. But it just doesn’t quite seem like we’re ready for that. And we also require masks, when you’re checking in, when you’re in the hallway, meeting other guests. It just seems like such a simple thing to do. We may be tired of it, but it’s easy and it’s effective. So we do require that.

So those are some of the travel trends that I’ve been reading about and that we’re experiencing and expecting to see in 2021. So, I’d be interested to hear your feedback. Is this the kind of thing that you’re thinking too? Or are you looking for something else? Is there something that we could provide that you could suggest to us? But we’re really hoping for a much better year, many more guests, many of you returning and bringing new friends with you.

So those are some of the trends I’ve seen. But another thing I want to offer you is this year I’m feeling like I am able to go out and go to the Colonies, all the other villages, and do like I normally do in the spring. I would go around and meet new business owners, introduce myself so that they would know me and so that I would know what’s going on to share with you, our guests. But last year when March hit and the pandemic hit, I just didn’t do any of that. It feels like we’ve been hibernating for the last year, and receiving some guests, but just really not doing a whole lot. We have elderly family members and we just wanted to be very careful and do our part. But this year I feel like I’m going to be able to go around and do some videos, interview some people, and then share that with you. So I guess I’m going to call it a vlog. It’s a blog, but instead of writing it, I’m going to be doing the videos and then sharing those on our social media, Facebook, as well as our website. And then I’ll send it by email to those of you on our email list.

So hopefully you can learn something new. It might make you want to come see something you haven’t seen before, or maybe it’ll just remind you of something that you enjoyed when you were here and you’ll want to come back and stay. So I’m going to be sharing that with you. It’s sort of like I’ll take you along as I rediscover the Amana Colonies. So look for that coming up. And it’s been nice chatting with you this morning, and I hope you have a wonderful spring.