Pandemic Travel Survey: Consumer Confidence Increases After First Trip
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Once consumers take their first trip in the new travel environment created as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, they are vastly reassured and far more willing to travel again, a PwC survey found.
PwC surveyed more than 1,000 consumers across the United States during the week of 08JUL, 2020 following an earlier survey conducted in APR. All respondents had taken at least one flight or spent at least one night in a hotel in 2019.
Here are some highlights from the survey:
Those who have travelled recently report a substantial increase in confidence. Among respondents who have travelled since May, 58% expect to book additional air travel within three months, while 74% expect to stay at a brand-name hotel.
Consumers who travelled since May show a dramatic decrease in anxiety. Before they travelled, 11% and 16% said they were not concerned about health and safety measures during air travel hotel stays, respectively. After their travels, the number of non-concerned respondents rose to around 50%.
During the initial phase of the pandemic, consumers prioritized brand trust, which they equated with health and safety measures. For those who have travelled since May, price is now the top consideration for both airlines and hotels. Brand loyalty is in flux, as approximately 40% of consumers surveyed say they are likely to switch airlines or hotels.
In July, consumers continued to be just as wary of gathering in large numbers as they were when asked the question in April. The majority of respondents — 76% —said they would avoid gathering places such as restaurants, lounges, retail stores and other common areas in airports.
Survey respondents are as cautious as ever about which sources to trust for guidance on public health and safety measures. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remains the most trusted source for travellers, with 66% of consumers putting their faith in CDC guidelines. Meanwhile faith in government entities and private companies is lower than it was three months ago.
Consumers are eager to receive clear, consistent, ongoing information about safety measures that can protect their health when they travel. As many as 80% of consumers said they make choices about where to stay or how to get there based on communications from their travel providers. A majority say they are not satisfied with the communications they are currently receiving.
Consumers still perceive many risks associated with various travel options: 96% of survey respondents said they consider air travel to be slightly, moderately or extremely risky, while 93% said the same of staying in a brand-name hotel.
"The isolation felt in the early stages of the pandemic has led to an increased desire in many consumers to reconnect in person — both for business and personal reasons. And the surge in confidence seen among consumers who have travelled bodes well for travel, transportation and hospitality companies," PwC concluded.
"While uncertainty about the public health implications of COVID-19 continues, consumer trust in the scientific and medical community offers travel providers an opportunity to implement safety measures based on scientific guidance. These businesses are also well-advised to communicate consistently in order to reassure consumers about their health and safety."
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.