Toronto, Ontario — Collision repair shops may finally get their volumes back to pre-pandemic levels this summer, with nearly 50 percent of Canadians planning to take a road trip over the next few months.
The past 15 months have been tough for bodyshops. With more people working from home, restrictions on travel and what seems like countless lockdowns across the nation, fewer people have been hitting the road, which translates to less work for shops.
Yet, as vaccine rollouts continue and restrictions loosen, a new study shows a peak in interest surrounding travel and specifically road tripping in the great white north.
According to the study conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of Toyota Canada, 65 percent Canadians say the pandemic has given them a greater appreciation for travel within Canada. In fact, when travel is permitted, nearly half of Canadians are planning to take a road trip this summer, an increase of almost 10 percent from last year.
While the majority of Canadians (73 percent) have had to change their summer vacation plans due to the pandemic, 84 percent of Canadians plan to stay closer to home than usual, 43 percent feel this summer could be the perfect time to explore Canada via a road trip—as soon as its safe to do so. Of those planning a road trip, two-thirds are opting for a shorter day trip. In fact, 35 percent of those planning a road trip will be travelling only 4-6 hours away from home.
While Canadians from coast to coast to coast share a love for travel, there are also some interesting regional highlights when it comes to road trip preferences:
- British Columbians are slightly more likely than others to make concessions when it comes to their travel, with 79 percent stating the pandemic changed their vacation plans and the vast majority (89 percent) planning to stay closer to home than usual this summer.
- Alberta residents are slightly more likely to hit the open road, with 61 percent planning a road trip this summer. And, on par with the rest of the country, almost half (48 percent) of Albertans planning a road trip noted camping would be their preferred outdoor activity.
- Relatively on par with the country, residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are true road trip warriors, with 35 percent willing to drive more than 12 hours from their homes for their vacation. Not surprisingly, almost two-thirds 63 percent of Saskatchewan and Manitoba respondents say fuel efficiency is the car feature they care about most when taking a summer road trip.
- Roughly in line with the rest of the country, Ontarians are open to driving a little farther from their home this summer, with 35 percent willing to drive 7 or more hours.
- Quebecers seem to love their cars the most, with more than half (58 percent) stating the pandemic has caused them to miss driving and 67 percent feeling that their car is a part of their family.
- Atlantic Canadians feel most connected to nature, with the majority stating the pandemic has given them a greater appreciation for the outdoors (85 percent) and 79 percent interested in domestic travel.
“It’s not surprising that, over a year into the pandemic, Canadians are more eager than ever to get back behind the wheel and explore our beautiful country as soon as it’s safe to do so,” says Stephen Beatty, Vice President, Corporate at Toyota Canada. “We are so fortunate to live in a country that has so much to offer in terms of scenic drives and outdoor adventure, and it’s wonderful to see an increased appreciation for the outdoors.”
Throughout this summer traffic series, Collision Repair Magazine will be interviewing shops from all over Canada about what they expect traffic will look like in the coming months, stay-tuned for more.