The travel and hospitality sector suffered more than any other as boundaries closed and people quarantined in place during COVID-19. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the sector lost almost $4.7 trillion in 2020—and as the industry teeters on the edge of recovery, the full impact of the pandemic is still unknown.
While there are signs of a rebound happening as vaccines get rolled out and lockdown restrictions ease in some parts of the world, the industry still faces major challenges: For one thing, 39% of global consumers have not traveled since the pandemic began and it could take years for leisure travel to return to pre-pandemic levels.
To better navigate the road to recovery, travel brands need a clear and consistent engagement plan that puts customer needs front and center.
Although travelers care about cost just as much as they did before the pandemic, brands’ COVID-19 policies and safety measures are now front and center. Our survey showed that, when asked to rank the most important factors in choosing a travel company, 31% of consumers put health and safety first, with those putting cost first slightly behind at 29%.
In April 2021, Skyscanner found that the average safety score of airlines booked by consumers was 4.8 out of 5, up 14% from last summer.
According to the survey, 42% of global travelers say they expect to carry proof of vaccination as a precaution, while 57% say they are more likely to use a travel company that requires travelers to share their vaccination status.
While most consumers intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the response to vaccination requirements is much more nuanced. 21% of consumers state they are unwilling to share their status with a travel company, with US travelers being the most unwilling (28%), followed by EMEA (23%), and APAC (16%.)
When it comes to travel, surveyed APAC consumers aren’t taking any chances: Only 13% of consumers are currently comfortable traveling (less than half the rate seen in the US). Surveyed APAC travelers also have a higher focus on safety precautions compared to the rest of the world.
Just because APAC consumers are especially concerned with safety, it doesn’t mean they will sacrifice cost. In fact, it’s just as important: 63% are budget-minded travelers, compared to 59% in EMEA and 54% in the US.