Now we’ve got data on how travellers want to be Covid-secure

There are many reports showing traveller intent, but how do people want to stay safe from Covid when they’re on holiday?

Since the end of the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve heard a lot about the steps to take in order to reassure travellers that they’re safe while on holiday. We now have some data points to work with. Amadeus, the Spanish global distribution system, has just released a poll from across the world that provides some answers.

This focuses on how technology can improve consumer confidence and boost demand. Most of the Amadeus report covers what we would expect — contactless payments, more information, and less congestion. Unusually, but more usefully, the survey didn’t delve into traveller intent. There are hundreds of surveys covering this already. We’ll focus on those that have direct implications for tours, activities and experiences operators.

Through Censuswide, Amadeus surveyed more than 6,000 people across France, Germany, India, Singapore, the UK and the US who have travelled abroad in the last 18 months. The poll was carried out in late September.

Reducing physical contact and documents

We could be seeing an end of physical paperwork when we travel — Jaimie Harmsen / Unsplash

Two in five travellers (42 per cent) want to see contactless and mobile payments in place when they travel. Another 38 per cent want to reduce queues and congestion in public spaces. One third want to see face-to-face or physical contact with others reduced. 47 per cent of boomers need [Amadeus’ word, not ours] to be socially distanced.

We could have guessed many of these things, but it’s good to see the numbers. We should also remember that there will be people who don’t have access to contactless or mobile payments, and operators should be ready for this. It may be especially the case when travellers are also local.

Health and hygiene

36% want to see the steps that have been taken on hygiene — Clay Banks / Unsplash

Because Covid has an incubation period of between five and six days on average, with this reaching up to 14 days, none of us know if the people we’re surrounded by are carriers until it’s too late. Unfortunately, this increases the admin burden on operators, with a third (34 per cent) of people wanting to see effective test, track and trace programmes.

Testing is most likely to be carried before international travel, however, operators should be working with local health authorities’ track and trace. They should be informing their customers of this in their marketing, as well as getting the relevant virtual paperwork signed to allow them to do so.

More than a third (36 per cent) want hygiene steps that are taken to be visible in their accommodation. That will carry over to much of the transport that they take, especially if it costs low enough that they feel they can sack it off. This means clear and effective information and signage, as well as seeing the sanitisation taking place.

Flexibility, security and communication

Flexibility has become an very important part of reassuring travellers — Wesley Tingey / Unsplash

Travellers want all of this to be provided along with flexible change, cancellations and payment policies — 39 per cent in fact. Particularly at the minute, where a notification on your phone can have you quarantining for more than a week, people are terrified of losing out. Providing this reassurance is likely to bring more bookings.

A standard one, but surprisingly low at 31 per cent, is that technology should protect financial data and personal information. Maybe it’s been pushed down the rankings by Covid.

All of this should be clearly communicated at all stages, from marketing materials, through responses to enquiries and confirmations, to the tour or experience itself. The point is to holler that you’re safe and you have the very best interests of your customers at heart.

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