Industry Update
Supplier News25 August 2020

Travelport Study: Majority Ready To Consider Domestic And International Travel But Only If These 10 Measures Are In Place

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Travelport

  • Ten separate safety measures, including fully flexible or refundable tickets, deemed critical by travelers
  • Communication of all measures, collectively, is key to regaining confidence
  • Travelers are more likely today to book through a travel agent than before the COVID-19 crisis

Langley, UK - 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 ten different safety measures throughout their journey, including fully flexible or refundable flight tickets. This is according to the results of new independent research released today by Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel industry.

The results of the study1 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.

The table below captures the ten 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 travelers to consider domestic and international travel. The percentage figures represent the number of travelers that said they will not travel unless the respective measure is in place.

Greg Webb, Chief Executive Officer at Travelport said, "Over the last 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 traveler confidence. However, for the majority of travelers 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 travelers 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 travelers right now. The travel industry recognizes and respects this and, what's encouraging, is that many suppliers, such as airlines, have already implemented the safety measures travelers 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 traveler 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 both Travelport customers and the wider industry, is delivered to both 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 travelers are more likely to book through a travel agent than before the COVID-19 crisis, with one third (33%) of all travelers anticipating an increase in their use of travel agent services. This trend was particularly evident among millennials2 (44%). Overall, the two thirds (65%) who claimed this, said it's because they feel travel agents are best placed to provide them with the latest travel safety information.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

  1. 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 traveled at least once in 2019; 1,000 per country. The five countries included in the study were: United States, United Kingdom, India, Australia and New Zealand.
  2. For the purposes of the study, Gen Y travelers were categorized as being aged between 18 and 38; Gen X travelers between 39 and 54 and baby boomers 55 and above.
  3. In addition to the full Guide to Travel Recovery report, additional assets for use include:
    1. An infographic summarizing the 10 key measures
    2. Travelport video titled 'Together, we're reconnecting the world'
  4. Please find below further analysis on the specific measures travelers stated they need to know are in place at airports, airlines, hotels and car rental companies, if they are to travel:

Air

Overall, more than half of travelers said that to consider booking a flight, they need to know in advance that a wide array of specific measures have been implemented by both the airport and airline. At the airport, these include temperature checks on arrival (66%), plexi-glass at check-in desks (58%), and managed boarding by row (56%).

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%).

Hotels

For travelers to have the confidence to book a hotel room, the study showed the majority want six specific safety measures in place including enhanced cleaning (73%) and guest services accessible via their mobile phone (51%).

About Travelport

Travelport is the technology company which makes the experience of buying and managing travel continually better, for everyone. It operates a travel commerce platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the global travel and tourism industry. The company facilitates travel commerce by connecting the world's leading travel providers with online and offline travel buyers in a proprietary business-to-business (B2B) travel platform.

Travelport has a leading position in airline merchandising, hotel content and distribution, car rental, mobile commerce and B2B payment solutions. The company also provides IT services to airlines, such as shopping, ticketing, departure control and other solutions. With net revenue of over $2.5 billion in 2018, Travelport is headquartered in Langley, U.K., has over 3,700 employees and is represented in approximately 180 countries and territories.

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Henry Jakins
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