1. Enhanced cleaning and/or disinfection
Travelers want to be sure that rigorous cleaning procedures are being followed, across all touchpoints of their journey. This includes:
during and between flights (71%)
aircraft disinfection before departure (70%)
2. Access to sanitizing gel/disinfectant wipes
Suppliers can meet or exceed traveler expectations and give them extra peace of mind by supplying them with sanitizing products:
at baggage collection (69%)
readily available disinfectant wipes on flights (61%)
3. Social distancing
Social distancing can be one of the trickier safety measures to implement, and for airlines it is not commercially viable to block middle seats in the long run. Travelers say that effective social distancing will encourage them to book a flight, and they want to see this implemented:
throughout air travel journey (68%)
socially distant seating on aircraft (66%)
4. Temperature checks
The merits of widespread temperature checks, and who should conduct them, is still being debated by travel stakeholders, medical experts, and governments. From our research though, we can see that until a vaccine or effective treatment is available, air travelers, in particular, would like to see temperature checks being carried out both:
at the entrance to airports (66%)
before boarding (66%)
5. Mandatory mask wearing
Mask wearing is becoming standard practice in many public settings, beyond just travel. This is acknowledged as an effective way of reducing community transmission of COVID-19 and is a simple solution for situations where social distancing is more difficult. Travelers seem to be embracing this trend too, with the results showing that they want mask-wearing to be required:
in airports (64%)
in the air (64%)
6. Plexiglass at check-in
Like mask-wearing, plexiglass is also becoming more common in retail and customer-service environments. Where contactless or entirely automated processes are not possible, this is the next-best alternative, with travelers wanting to see this, in particular, at airport check-in desks (56%).
7. Managed aircraft boarding by row
Gone are the days of the dash to board a plane — perhaps one small positive from the pandemic. Travelers are likely to exercise much more caution at this stage of their journey now and want airlines to prevent crowding by managing boarding by row. This is important to 56% of travelers.
8. Air filtration
Travelers know that on many flights, full social distancing will not be possible. Like mask-wearing, HEPA air filtration provides them with some reassurance that they are safe in the cabin. This is important to 62% of travelers.
9. Contactless services
Before COVID-19, having a human face at a check-in desk or front of house was important to many people, and symbolic of quality customer service. But now, as people seek to reduce their in-person interactions and close contacts, technology will enable many travel businesses to creatively adapt their processes, increasingly support self-check-in. 58% of travelers prefer contactless check-in.
Like contactless services, mobile guest services will also allow travelers to rely less on in-person interactions in hotels. This may include room service, making reservations in a restaurant, booking leisure facilities, transfers, and more. This was important to 51% of travelers.
10. Flexible change/cancellation policies
In addition to feeling physically safe throughout their travels, consumers also want to know that their money will be safe if they book. The COVID-19 situation is changing by the day, creating uncertainty and making some travelers hesitant to book. Travel suppliers now need flexible policies to make it possible for people to change their trip without incurring charges or cancel and get a full refund if they become unwell, or if travel restrictions are reintroduced in either their departure point or destination.
At the same time, suppliers need to make agencies aware of this information so they can confidently guide people during booking. A notable 64% of people said that having fully flexible or refundable tickets was a ‘very important’ consideration that would influence them to book a flight. During our research, our airline, hotel, and car partners mirrored this view that flexibility around change/cancellations would play a key role in restoring traveler confidence.