CHARLOTTE, NC—A new Honeywell survey conducted by YouGov finds travelers are placing an increased focus on cleanliness and hygiene when selecting which hotels to book and airlines to fly.
Although cost also remains a top motivator in travel decisions, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted travelers’ focus toward safety as they make travel decisions. The Honeywell survey, which was conducted online among adults in the U.S. and U.K., sought to better understand these shifting motivations.
When U.S. survey participants were asked about their criteria for selecting a travel brand or company, cleanliness/hygiene was the top factor (57%) in determining their choice—outranking cost and every other factor.
Providing an experience focused on cleanliness and safety has the potential to increase travelers’ confidence. Among all survey participants who have traveled since March, roughly six in 10 of those who traveled by plane gave positive ratings to the cleanliness and safety procedures at the airport (61%) and in flight (58%), and a majority of survey participants who traveled by any means indicated a positive cleanliness and safety experience with lodging (68%).
“Travel and hospitality companies that lead the way on safety and cleanliness protocols during the pandemic are likely to be better positioned when global travel rebounds,” said Bill Kircos, VP, global marketing, Honeywell Aerospace. “It’s evident that airlines, airports and lodging providers must address safety and cleanliness as part of their core brand offering now and in the future.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed many perceptions, concerns and motivators around travel, impacting airports, airplanes and hotels. The survey uncovered insights into the changing perceptions of all three.
- When compared with other parts of the travel journey, lodging posed the least concern for travelers surveyed with only 9% highlighting it as the leg of the journey that most concerns them.
- For those surveyed who have stayed in a hotel since March, 93% reported a positive experience regarding safety and cleanliness.
- Forty-eight percent of adults surveyed said enhanced cleanliness or health and safety procedures would most motivate them to stay in a hotel.
- Ninety-two percent of those surveyed who have traveled by air since March had either a positive (61%) or neutral (31%) experience at the airport regarding health and safety. Their airport experiences are making 40% of recent air travelers more likely to travel again before June 2021, as opposed to 15% saying their experience would make them less likely to travel.
- More than half (52%) of those surveyed with upcoming air travel plans plan to stay in hotels vs. less than a quarter (22%) planning to use vacation rentals.
“Although lodging is not currently the top concern for many when it comes to their travel journey, consumers are giving additional thought to where they stay,” Kircos said. “And although vacation rentals have gained in popularity in recent years, we’re seeing consumers put their trust in hotels because they feel more confident in their cleanliness and hygiene standards.”
U.S. vs. U.K. Travelers’ Preferences
The survey considered insights garnered collectively from respondents in the U.S. and U.K., and although responses from each country mirrored each other in many ways, there were country distinctions in terms of motivators, barriers and attitudes toward travel.
- Among those who haven’t flown since March, a COVID-19 vaccine was the top motivator to return to air travel (48%). However, more U.K. respondents (52%) were motivated by a vaccine than U.S. respondents (42%).
- U.K. respondents with air travel plans in the next eight months are most likely to be planning on staying in hotels (57%, vs. 43% of Americans) while those in the U.S are more likely to say they’ll be staying at a relative’s or friend’s home (50%, vs. 31% of Britons).