Technology is seen by travellers as playing a key role in restoring confidence to travel, according to a new global study by Amadeus.
The European GDS and technology giant, surveyed over 6,000 people in France, Germany, India, Singapore, UK and US, to find what their main concerns are.
The study found over four in five (84%) of respondents said technology would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12 months.
Technology was seen as pivotal in addressing concerns related to mixing with crowds, social distancing and physical touchpoints.
The survey found:
- 42% of respondents said mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications to inform about localised outbreaks and changes to government guidance would help boost their confidence to travel;
- 42% of travellers cited contactless and mobile payment options such as Google Pay, PayPal and Venmo as key to reducing incidences of physical contact throughout the journey;
- 34% of travellers who had concerns about travelling in light of COVID, said biometrics (i.e. facial or voice recognition) that enable check-in, pass-through security and boarding without the need for physical checks would make them more likely to travel;
- 33% of travellers responded they would like one universal digital traveler identification on their phone that includes all necessary documentation and immunity status, that meant they only had to prove it once.
The Amadeus survey found that technology receptiveness and preferences differ by country and demographic which the firm said nderscores the importance of personalisation in gaining traveler trust.
Futher findings from the study included:
- Almost half (47%) of Baby Boomers said they would need to be able to socially or physically distance throughout the journey in order to feel comfortable travelling, compared to less than 3 in 10 (27%) of Generation Z;
- Over half (52%) of travellers in Singapore who had concerns about travelling in light of COVID selected contactless experiences at hotels as a technology that would make them more likely to travel, while almost half of Indian travelers who have concerns about travelling in light of COVID (47%) selected mobile applications that inform them of the destination city’s safety measures.
- For French travellers, automated cleaning processes (36%) and contactless and mobile payments (34%) were the most popular of the suggested technology options;
- A quarter (25%) of UK travellers and just over a quarter (26%) of US travellers said they would most like technology to reduce the need for them to have physical documents. Additionally, 3 in 10 German and UK travelers (30% each) said they would most like technology to minimize their physical contact with others.
The top five things travellers said they would most like technology to do when thinking about travel is:
- Reduce queues and congestion in public spaces (38%)
- Minimize face-to-face or physical contact with others (31%)
- Protect financial data and personal information (31%)
- Notify in advance when there is a delay (29%)
- Ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of national test, track and trace programs (28%)
The survey results revealed that the top five ways to build traveller confidence under current conditions included:
- Access to flexible change, cancellations policies and payment terms to avoid losing money (39%);
- A limit on the number of passengers on a plane (38%);
- Ability for travellers to socially or physically distance themselves throughout the journey (36%);
- Visibility to and assurance of sanitisation, hygiene and safety measures in hotels and accommodations (36%);
- Effective test, track and trace programs in place (34%).
Christophe Bousquet, chief technology officer at Amadeus, said: “This research provides a source of optimism for the industry as many of the travelers’ concerns can be addressed by technology available now, at every stage of a traveler’s experience.
“Whether it is new mobile applications, biometrics or contactless solutions, we need to explore together as an industry and with governments how best to accelerate adoption if we are to encourage global travel, which is a major driver of global prosperity.
“This research also shows that certain areas, such as social distancing and hygiene, remain a cause for concern for travellers during the journey itself – and we will continue to work side by side with our customers in order to increase awareness around the safety and sanitization measures that have been introduced.
“For example, recent research from the International Air Transport Association (Iata) has shown the extremely low rates of transmissions onboard aircraft due to cabin air filtering systems and other protection measures in place.
“By giving travellers easy access to the information they need to be assured of their safety while traveling, and giving them tools that address their individual preferences, we can build traveller confidence and speed up recovery.”
Stefan Ropers, president, strategic growth businesses at Amadeus, added: “From finding suitable destinations to going through airports and paying for travel services, today’s travellers want reassurance that their journey will be stress free, prioritizing safety and hygiene as well as experiences that meet their needs.
“This requires overcoming industry siloes to build a better experience by connecting the travel ecosystem, for example, via digital identity management, linking every step of the traveller journey.”