More travelers are likely to book their trips through a travel agent than before the COVID-19 crisis began seven months ago, according to a new study from British-based travel technology company Travelport.
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 10 different safety measures throughout their journey, including fully flexible or refundable flight tickets. This is according to the results of Travelport’s independent research.
The results of the study 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 masksand 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.
Included in that confidence is booking with travel advisors.
The study found that travelers are more likely to book through a travel agent than before the COVID-19 crisis, with 33 percent of all travelers anticipating an increase in their use of travel agent services. This trend was particularly evident among the 44 percent of millennials who said they would up their use of advisors.
Overall, 65 percent of respondents said it’s because they feel travel agents are best placed to provide them with the latest travel safety information.
Derek Sadubin, Managing Director of the Centre for Aviation, said that health and safety are 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,” he said. “Collaboration and communication are now key to restoring traveler confidence and securing a strong and responsible industry recovery.”
At the top of the list of safety measures that travelers said they need to know have been adopted by airports, airlines, hotels and car rental companies to consider domestic and international travel was ‘enhanced cleaning and/or disinfection.’
That was followed by access to sanitizing gel/wipes, face masks and gloves; social distancing; temperature checks, mandatory wearing of face masks; fully flexible or refundable tickets; improved air filtration; contactless service; plexi-glass barriers at check-in; and managed boarding by row.