TripAdvisor has reported “positive signs” of improving consumer sentiment as it sets out a five-stage plan for recovery of the global travel and hospitality sector.
The leading travel reviews platform has released the findings of a multi-month study on consumer travel sentiment and behavioural data related to the ongoing pandemic.
The results are set out in a report titled ‘Beyond COVID-19: The Road to Recovery for the Travel Industry’ that outlines a recovery plan for the global travel and hospitality industry.
The report identifies early “green shoots of recovery” in a number of countries and identifies notable changes in travel and dining preferences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer at TripAdvisor, said: “We’re encouraged to see positive signs of recovery and are here to help our partners understand the pathway through this pandemic with clear insights and tangible data.
“Our path to recovery will depend on the steps the industry takes to prepare for the road ahead – not just in terms of new standards and practices but also in how we collectively educate and engage consumers in a new, more thoughtful way of travelling.”
TripAdvisor’s five stages to recovery:
- Decline – Travel declines sharply as widespread restrictions enforced
- Plateau – Sharp decline in bookings levels out, but travellers start dreaming their next trip
- Emerge – Easing of travel restrictions begins, early signs of recovery in dining sector
- Domestic Travel – Travellers book their first trips away, but stay close to home
- International Travel – Border restrictions ease, and international travel begins to rebound
TripAdvisor’s reasons for cautious optimism:
- Searches on TripAdvisor for domestic travel within the next 30 days grew rapidly in May in the US and other major markets, as consumer confidence that local restrictions will end soon appears to grow;
- New Zealand, Germany and Switzerland among first markets to enter the Emerge stage of recovery, with restaurant searches on TripAdvisor resurging strongly;
- Consumer desire to travel remains resilient – around two in five (41%) consumers are optimistic that they will take the same or more trips compared to last year.
Changing travel preferences highlight new consumer expectations:
- In Europe, nature destinations are on the rise as searches on TripAdvisor for accommodation such as cottages and castles, or hotels featuring skiing, hiking and fishing activities, trend upwards faster than other accommodation types;
- Consumers are 218% more likely to want to take a trip where they can relax compared to before the pandemic, and nearly two thirds (59%) would prefer to go somewhere off the beaten path;
- Shorter trips to destinations closer to home are also a recurring theme, with nearly half (44%) of consumers saying they are more likely to take a road trip, and two thirds (61%) saying they are most comfortable taking a road trip for 3-5 days.
Cleanliness now a major determining factor in consumer confidence:
- Nearly nine in ten (86%) consumers say cleanliness will be very important when selecting an accommodation after COVID-19;
- More than a third of consumers (35%) say they will put an emphasis on dining at restaurants that keep customers safe;
- The provision of hand sanitisers and sealed amenities, the frequency with which rooms are disinfected, and the use of temperature checks for employees and guests all now cited as top considerations.