Hygiene trumps price in travel consideration: Report

Health and safety precautions more important now than price, new report finds.

The ascension of health and hygiene as a primary consideration by Asia Pacific travellers in where they spend their holidays has seen destinations shift their marketing focus based on traveller safety and cleanliness, a new report reveals.

The report, titled ‘The Impact of Health and Hygiene on post COVID-19 Destination Competitiveness in Asia Pacific’ and commissioned by TripAdvisor and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), unearthed emerging trends in the booking behaviour of travellers, finding health and hygiene as a key factor.

Recommendations emerging from the report included a push for destination bodies and tourism stakeholders to form close partnerships with public health officials and supply chain businesses to conduct frequent reviews into the health and safety of their destination, based on real feedback from travellers.

The study identified destinations which do this successfully and communicate any changes made and enforced will be better positioned to benefit in a post-COVID travel environment.

Results in the report were extrapolated by “re-weighting” the health and hygiene pillar from PATA’s 2019 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index. By examining more closely this segment of the report, it found health concerns were a major deciding factor in how travellers select their holiday destinations.

Another key finding was that the Asia-Pacific was second only to Europe in terms of global competitiveness, with some destinations basing their competitiveness on natural and cultural assets instead of underdeveloped health and hygiene conditions.

Conversely, other cities in the region were setting themselves up for future success by prioritising health, safety, hygiene and cleanliness over the cultural prominence and appeal of their tourist attractions.

One of the surveys in the report found 70.5 per cent of consumers are concerned with how destinations contained the number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, with 72 per cent keeping a close eye on the social distancing culture and adherence.

More than 70 per cent of consumers said they would preference businesses which had a clear protocol in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Finally, nearly 75 per cent said they wanted to avoid crowded places when they travelled and would preference destinations capable of enforcing social distancing.

Importantly, 91 per cent of respondents said health and safety precautions were more important now than price (36.8 per cent), location (46.3 per cent and exclusive offers (34.8 per cent), with 79 per cent adding that hotels should be publicly displaying their adherence of government-mandated health and safety criteria, backed by independent verification and certification.

More specifically, 65.6 per cent of respondents said the availability of hand sanitisers for guests and staff was critical in their comfort levels when on-site at their hotel. This was followed in importance by regular cleaning and sanitising of public areas (58.5 per cent), requiring face masks to be worn by staff (57.3 per cent) and guests (54 per cent) in public areas.

TripAdvisor global industry relations associate director, Fabrizio Orlando, said he hoped the report would bring the industry together and work towards and environment where travellers feel safe and inspired to venture out once again.

“As travel starts to recover and restrictions around the world begin to ease, hospitality businesses and destinations will need to rethink how best to address traveller safety and cleanliness,” he said.

Click here to read the TripAdvisor / PATA report in full.

This article was first published by Hotel Management and has been re-published with permission. 

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