The majority of travellers are now ready to consider booking domestic and international trips, but only if airlines, airports, hotels and car rental companies collectively implement 10 different safety measures throughout their journey, including fully flexible or refundable flight tickets, according to new independent research by Travelport – which also reveals that travellers are more likely to book through a travel agent than before the Covid-19 crisis.
The results of the study are based on a survey of 5,000 travellers across the USA, UK, India, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in-depth interviews with 29 leading travel suppliers. The study found that at all parts of the travel journey it is deemed critical to have social distancing rules, mandatory use of face masks, and ready access to sanitising gel or wipes, face masks and gloves. The study also revealed, however, that additional measures still need to be implemented by airlines, airports, hotels and car rental companies to fully restore consumer confidence.
The table below captures the 10 separate safety measures participants of the study said they need to know have been adopted by airports, airlines, hotels and car rental companies for those travellers to consider domestic and international travel. The percentage figures represent the number of travellers that said they will not travel unless the respective measure is in place.
|1||Enhanced cleaning and/or disinfection||71%||73%||72%|
|2||Access to sanitising gel/wipes, face masks and gloves||69%||61%||70%||66%|
|5||Mandatory wearing of face masks||64%||64%||64%||61%|
|6||Fully flexible or refundable tickets||64%|
|7||Improved air filtration||62%|
|9||Plexi-glass at check-in||56%|
|10||Managed boarding by row||56%|
NB: Similar measures (e.g. enhanced cleaning and disinfection) have been grouped together for the purpose of this table. Detailed information on the specific measures participants deemed critical at airports, airlines, hotels and car rentals can be found in Travelport’s Guide to Travel Recovery report.
Greg Webb, Chief Executive, Travelport, said: “Over the past few months, the travel industry has rolled out many initiatives to support a safe, healthy and responsible return for travel. This study highlights the criticality these measures are now playing in restoring traveller confidence. However, for the majority of travellers to return to the skies, the industry now needs to work together to not only ensure a wide array of safety measures are in place throughout the travel journey, but to collectively communicate these changes to travellers using a range of channels and merchandising technologies.”
On a country level, the study revealed demand for almost every safety measure is highest in India. Demand in New Zealand, while still high, tended to be the lowest across the five countries assessed. When it comes to age groups, demand for robust safety measures was again high across all categories – however, it was highest among baby boomers and lowest among millennials.
Derek Sadubin, Managing Director, CAPA – Centre for Aviation, added: “Health and safety is understandably front of mind for travellers right now. The travel industry recognises and respects this and what is encouraging is that many suppliers, such as airlines, have already implemented the safety measures travellers say they need to book a domestic or international trip – but we still have a long way to go. Collaboration and communication are now key to restoring traveller confidence and securing a strong and responsible industry recovery.”
The safety measures currently being undertaken by more than 80 of the world’s largest airlines can be found in the recently launched Travelport Airline Health & Safety Tracker. The tool, which is free of charge and available to Travelport customers and the wider industry, is delivered to online and offline travel agencies through the Travelport Covid-19 Smartpoint Plugin, Travelport’s API-based merchandising solution, Branded Fares Data File, and through the company’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for the general public.
The full results of both the quantitative and qualitative components of the research are captured in Travelport’s Guide to Travel Recovery report. These also reveal that travellers are more likely to book through a travel agent than before the Covid-19 crisis, with one-third (33%) of all travellers anticipating an increase in their use of travel agent services. This trend was particularly evident among millennials (44%). Overall, the two-thirds (65%) who claimed this, said it is because they feel travel agents are best placed to provide them with the latest travel safety information.
To conduct the research, Travelport first interviewed 29 leading airlines, airports, hotels and car rental companies to identify the safety measures they either have in place or are considering implementing. The company then tested demand for the most commonly cited initiatives through an online survey independently managed by Toluna Research. The study took place in July 2020. In total, there were 5,000 respondents who had travelled at least once in 2019, 1,000 per country.
The specific measures that travellers stated they need to know are in place at airports, airlines, hotels and car rental companies, if they are to travel are:
Overall, more than half of travellers said that to consider booking a flight they need to know in advance that a wide array of specific measures have been implemented by the airport and by the airline. At the airport, these include temperature checks on arrival (66%), plexi-glass at check-in desks (58%), and managed boarding by row (56%).
|Hand sanitisers at baggage collection||69%||66%||68%||76%||70%||64%|
|Social distancing throughout||68%||68%||67%||80%||69%||59%|
|Temperature checks at the entrance||66%||63%||64%||74%||69%||60%|
|Mandatory wearing of face masks||64%||70%||62%||80%||53%||52%|
|Plexi-glass at check-in desks||56%||59%||59%||62%||54%||48%|
|Managed boarding by row||56%||57%||57%||63%||55%||48%|
When it comes to airlines, measures in high demand include enhanced cleaning (71%) and disinfection (70%), further temperature checks before boarding (66%), socially distanced seating (66%), and fully flexible or refundable tickets (64%).
|Enhanced cleaning during and between flights||71%||72%||72%||72%||71%||70%|
|Aircraft disinfection before departure||70%||71%||67%||76%||72%||64%|
|Temperature checks before boarding||66%||65%||62%||75%||70%||60%|
|Socially distanced seating||66%||69%||65%||76%||66%||53%|
|Mandatory wearing of face masks||64%||70%||65%||79%||54%||50%|
|Fully flexible or refundable tickets||64%||65%||61%||61%||68%||65%|
|Improved air filtration||62%||65%||62%||62%||64%||58%|
|Readily available disinfectant wipes||61%||62%||59%||65%||64%||57%|
For travellers to have the confidence to book a hotel room, the study showed that the majority want six specific safety measures in place, including enhanced cleaning (73%) and guest services accessible via their mobile phone (51%).
|Enhanced cleaning throughout||73%||74%||72%||74%||72%||71%|
|Access to sanitising gel, face masks and gloves||70%||69%||69%||77%||69%||64%|
|Social distancing throughout||66%||66%||64%||78%||66%||57%|
|Mandatory wearing of face masks by staff||64%||72%||61%||77%||54%||51%|
|Guest services accessible via mobile||51%||52%||46%||61%||50%||47%|
To book a car rental, the majority of travellers want five key safety measures in place at rental destinations and in vehicles, including contactless car collection and drop-off (55%).
|Enhanced cleaning between rental bookings||72%||74%||70%||73%||73%||73%|
|Access to sanitising gel, face masks and gloves||66%||65%||65%||75%||65%||60%|
|Social distancing at rental locations||64%||65%||65%||77%||63%||52%|
|Mandatory wearing of face masks by staff||61%||69%||60%||74%||52%||48%|
|Contactless car collection and drop-off||55%||56%||54%||63%||50%||50%|