The majority of travelers 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 the journey, including fully flexible or refundable flight tickets. This is according to the results of new independent research released Tuesday by Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel industry.
The results of the study are based on a survey of 5,000 travelers across the United States, United Kingdom, 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 sanitizing 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.
In all, the 10 safety measures that respondents said they need to know have been adopted by airports, airlines, hotels and car rental companies in order for them to consider domestic and international travel are:
- Enhanced cleaning and/or disinfection
- Access to sanitizing gel/wipes, face masks and gloves
- Social distancing
- Temperature checks
- Mandatory wearing of face masks
- Fully flexible or refundable tickets
- Improved air filtration
- Contactless services
- Plexiglass at check-in
- Managed boarding by row
On a country level, Travelport says 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.
Further, the study found that one-third (33 percent) of all travelers expect to increase their use of travel advisor services. This trend was particularly evident among millennials (44 percent). Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say the information and insight advisors can provide is their most crucial draw. Other top factors included offering the latest travel safety information, the ability to change/cancel tickets, helping travelers get home in case a problem arises and preferring to speak with a human.
In addition, the report noted, “In our qualitative research with DMOs, almost all confirmed that travel agents are more important to them than ever, too, in helping travelers during the dynamic and complicated recovery period.”