Infographic: The Delta Variant Turns Travel Plans Into Online Grief

After hopes of a hot vax summer, anger and sadness reign as Covid-19 surges

This was supposed to be our summer, a season of blissful freedom making up for the one scuttled by the novel coronavirus in 2020. But Covid-19 came for 2021, too.

After a jubilant start to summer—the TSA recorded the highest number of fliers over Memorial Day weekend since the pandemic began, and cruises resumed at the end of June—the delta variant began surging in July, upending Americans’ long-delayed travel plans.

To gauge whether travelers would hold or fold those reservations (again), social media management platform Hootsuite and digital consumer intelligence company Brandwatch looked at mentions, sentiment, and location of conversations about Covid-19 from July 16 to Aug. 16.

Sentiment about travel began trending more negative on social media, from 34% in July to 43% in August. Social chatter about the delta variant spiked on July 21, with several tweets going viral about grandparents canceling trips because their grandkids were too young to be vaccinated, or those selling tickets for conferences and events they could no longer attend.

The people most likely to be concerned were those with families; those who work in industries heavily impacted by Covid-19 such as the arts; sports fans; executives (likely weighing back-to-office plans) and educators.

“When it comes to travel plans, we’re seeing that social media users are becoming increasingly frustrated,” Nick Martin, social engagement specialist at Hootsuite, told Adweek. “The recent surge of the Covid-19 delta variant cases has led to widespread travel disruptions and cancellations, with many vocalizing their anger and sadness on social media.”

And those emotions increasingly have a target. “At this time,” added Martin, “much of that frustration is being pointed toward those who are choosing not to make available vaccines.”

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