Will There Be a Return to Travel?

Contributed by BSM Staff

ATLANTA -- GP Pro recently surveyed consumers to find out what activities they most look forward to doing once COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

The commercial and industrial products supplier, found consumers’ heads and hearts are set on future travel, gathering with family and friends, and dining out.

And when it comes to travel, a GP PRO consumer survey of travelers who frequented hotels prior to
COVID-19 found that—perhaps not surprisingly—54 percent of respondents feel flying in an airplane is
the most concerning aspect of traveling during the pandemic, and 60 percent of respondents are very
or somewhat concerned about staying in a hotel.

While this may sound like bad news, there’s some good news, too.

GP PRO asked 623 consumers what activity they look forward to doing most when COVID-19 concerns are no longer a threat. This word cloud identifies the most frequently stated responses

In regard to flying, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most viruses and other germs don't spread easily on flights because of how the air is filtered and circulated. In addition, every major U.S. airline has established a list of passenger and crew safety protocols such as requiring masks, limiting the number of passengers, providing personal hand sanitizer packets to passengers, and implementing enhanced cleaning practices.

As it relates to hotels, major chains in the U.S. are also implementing best practices, such as enhanced cleaning of public areas and guest rooms and scheduling a waiting period between guests.

What else can hotels do? GP PRO’s traveler survey found that 80 percent of participants would feel safer from germs if their hotel provided individually wrapped disposable coffee cups and lids in their guest room, and 72 percent would feel safer from germs if guest room signage noted that high-touch surfaces such as toilet handles and door knobs had been wiped down.

“I think our findings offer a glimmer or two of hope for the long-struggling travel industry,” said Michelle Auda, senior director of Insights with GP PRO. “Clearly, consumers still long to travel. COVID hasn’t quashed that desire; in fact, it may have instilled a bit of wanderlust. But consumers do want
assurances that they’ll be safe in environments they can’t control.”

As the travel industry continues to implement elevated hygiene practices, Auda encourages it “to put empathy into action, be it in the form of individually wrapped coffee cups and lids, visible hygiene signage, or countless numbers of other ways. Advanced hygiene practices keep the traveling public safe; empathy helps them feel safe, and that just may be the ticket to getting them to book that spring break trip sooner rather than later."