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72% of American consumers plan to return to pre-pandemic travel rates

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While 93% of Americans say that after the widespread adoption of a COVID-19 vaccine, they will be comfortable using public amenities made available at hotels, 55% admit that they will only do so if updates are made to keep them safe (i.e. capacity adjusted for social distancing, clear communication protocols).

With the vaccine rollout speeding up in the U.S. and thus contributing to a sense of enthusiasm that life might return to some semblance of normalcy sooner rather than later, the Medallia Zingle team surveyed 1,000+ Americans to uncover the shifting views and expectations that travel brands will need to account for as they welcome customers back through their doors.

As you may have seen over the weekend, TSA screened the highest number of passengers on a single day since the early days of the pandemic, suggesting that air travel is starting to pick up again after an undeniably challenging year. And now, Medallia Zingle is reporting that 72% of Americans say that they plan to travel at the same rate as they did pre-pandemic.

However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the new era of travel will look a lot different to the old one, in particular due to consumers lingering preferences for contactless experiences. In fact, Medallia Zingle found that 77% say that even after a vaccine becomes widely available, the amount of in-person interaction required will factor into their decision of whether or not to travel. 

Medallia Zingle’s ‘Return to Travel: Setting the Stage for the New Guest Experience’ report is live here. Additional highlights include: 

  • 40% of Americans have stayed at a hotel in the last three months - a considerable recovery for an industry that has had to overcome mass vacancies, layoffs and closures.
  • While 63% rated their guest experience as four stars or above, 58% admitted they worried about contracting COVID-19 at some point during their stay.
  • The vast majority of those who reported feeling worried about contracting COVID on-premises, said they did so when in common spaces like during check-in (27%) and while using hotel amenities (22%).
  • Travelers expect businesses to adopt more rigorous safety measures like more intense hotel room cleaning (eg, UV light disinfectant) (74%), Contactless, touch-free check in processes (67%), and Temperature checks/health screenings for travelers (54%).
  • More good news for hotels: While 93% of Americans say that after the widespread adoption of a COVID-19 vaccine, they will be comfortable using public amenities made available at hotels, 55% admit that they will only do so if updates are made to keep them safe (i.e. capacity adjusted for social distancing, clear communication protocols).
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