Hygiene highest priority for travellers: Skyscanner survey

Global travellers looking to book holiday accommodation in the post-Covid era prioritise sanitation and hygiene over price and location, according to a Skyscanner survey.

The survey, which sought to find out how planning for a stay will evolve post-Covid-19, was conducted among 2,300 travellers from the UK, the US, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore (131 respondents) visiting Skyscanner’s site from June 12-22, 2020.

When it comes to booking a property in the future, 55 per cent of Skyscanner users score sanitation and hygiene practices as “extremely important”, compared to price (48 per cent) and location (45 per cent). Reward and loyalty programmes ranked lowest (11 per cent), after brand reputation (21 per cent) and star rating (20 per cent).

When it comes to the importance of flexible room change/cancellation policies, nearly half of (47 per cent) Singapore travellers rate it as “extremely important”, the highest across all surveyed countries, against the global average of 29 per cent.

This shift in traveller preference can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, with travellers saying that hygiene and sanitation practices (73 per cent) and flexible cancellation policies (61 per cent) have become “more important than before”.

In response, Skyscanner has recently introduced cleanliness ratings on most accommodation listed on its site. These ratings are retrieved from TripAdvisor’s reviews in real-time.

Ulf Waschbusch, director of product – hotels for Skyscanner, commented on the new feature: “The cleanliness rating provides a clear indication of the accommodation’s hygiene standards, allowing travellers to make more informed accommodation choices.

“It is still early days for the industry’s recovery, but travellers have already determined that hygiene and flexibility are the new necessities in the face of Covid-19. Moving forward, it is imperative that travel providers not only implement measures to instill consumer confidence, but also find new ways to inform the holiday booking experience.”

Skyscanner data also revealed that the hotel experience will be reshaped. Nearly half (46 per cent) of the surveyed travellers said they will avoid shared amenities and common areas such as fitness facilities. Some 40 per cent of them would also prefer to dine outdoors, if given the option.

Having activities in-room is especially attractive to Singapore travellers, with nearly a third of them (31 per cent) saying they will look out for in-room experiences offered by the property, as compared to the global average of 19 per cent. This presents accommodation providers with opportunities to reinvent the hotel experience to offer add-ons such as private spa treatments and indoor workout videos.

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