INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Tripadvisor’s latest study, “Beyond COVID-19: The Road to Recovery for the Travel Industry,” outlines a five-stage recovery for the travel and hospitality industry: Decline, Plateau, Emerge, Domestic Travel, and finally, a return to International Travel.
“The travel industry is in uncharted waters,” said Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer, Tripadvisor. “A sector famed for its resilience in the face of many global crises over the years has, in truth, never faced a crisis as extraordinary as this.”
The study shows the world is still hungry for travel: More than two-thirds of travelers (68%) reported they were already thinking about where they want to go next.
It also found that shorter trips to destinations closer to home are top of mind. Nearly half (44%) of consumers say they are more likely to take a road trip, and two-thirds (61%) say they are most comfortable taking a road trip for three-to-five days.
Nature and beach destinations are top of mind in accommodation search trends. In North and Latin America, there has been a spike in traffic researching campgrounds, ranches and beach motels, as well as lodgings featuring boating, skiing, canoeing or horseback riding.
Nearly nine in 10 (86%) consumers say cleanliness will be very important when selecting an accommodation after COVID-19, with the provision of hand sanitizers 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.
The survey offers advice for accommodation providers to help their guests feel confident that their operations are safe. Safety, flexibility and transparency are key to rebuilding traveler confidence. Developing a robust set of hygiene and sanitation protocols, and communicating them to potential guests, are the first steps operators can take to make guests feel more confident in booking a stay.
Operators should also evaluate marketing channels and update them appropriately. The report also suggests that operators highlight unique elements of their properties or special offers that will appeal to potential guests’ desire for an exceptional experience that does not compromise on safety, such as an on-site beach with contactless bar service or rooms with direct entry.
Tripadvisor also suggests that operators “throw out the rule book,” and adopt a test and learn approach. They should start by focusing on domestic or short-haul travelers as those trip types are most likely to come back fastest.