On-line Presentation

Abstract

This IDC Survey examines the impact COVID-19 is having on consumer actions in the travel and hospitality sector. The exponential spread of the coronavirus has sent shockwaves through the worldwide economy, with those first seismic blows landing squarely on the travel and tourism industries. As word and cases of the virus spread, airline and hotel cancellations began to decimate what had been robust bookings for the first and second quarters, leaving in its wake hotels and airlines operating at 50% capacity or stopping operations. By March, many countries had shelter-in-place orders and were ordering restaurants shift to takeout or delivery models only if not shuttering completely.

COVID-19 is drastically changing the way consumers expect to and want to interact with hospitality and travel brands. With rising fears and uncertainty, guests are hyperfocused on having insight into all aspects of a journey and experience, especially when it pertains to the handling of food or sanitary practices. Restaurants have been able to pivot from table service to off-premises with online ordering for pickup and delivery. Consumers are receptive to this but are placing higher expectations on the execution of these sorts of experiences, from delivery drivers being employees of the restaurant (not third party) to being able to maintain a sightline of servers to ensure cleanliness.

For hotels, COVID-19 concerns are necessitating that housekeeping staff be prepared for extra requests and that any coronavirus practices are clearly outlined on websites. Travelers also want to receive updates from brands, with younger travelers looking for SMS texts or mobile app alerts to keep them informed.

Technology areas that are poised to help with new consumer demands on travel and hospitality include:

  • Loyalty and marketing data
  • Online/digital ordering platforms
  • Workforce management systems (to manage housekeeping staff and increased tasks as well as to help onboard and manage the process of reopening)
  • Flexible revenue management systems that can adjust to the new normal post the anomaly that was COVID-19, once demand ramps up again
  • Automation and robotics for tasks such as housekeeping or other property services during a time of ramping back up workforces

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