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Travel advisors say health and safety is worth the extra cost, according to the latest survey from TravelAge West’s Need to Know research series. In a survey of nearly 600 advisors conducted July 13-19, 70% of respondents say their clients are willing to pay more for increased safety.
When it comes to specific costs, 63% of advisors report that clients are willing to pay more to be seated next to a guaranteed empty middle seat on an airplane.
“I would personally pay more, and I believe that most of my customers would be fine with an increased cost if it meant enhanced safety,” said Danny Genung, CEO of Harr Travel in Redlands, Calif. “When planning future travel and trying to restart cruising, the experience of flying is what is holding it back. Airlines also need to implement temperature checks, enforce the wearing of masks and do more to educate passengers about health and safety.”
While 88% of advisors believe cost is still very important or somewhat important to clients when planning a trip, the survey results show the importance of communicating about effective health protocols during the sales process.
According to advisors, on-site safety protocols is by far the most important concern to their clients (56%), beating out trustworthy recommendations (15%), cost (13%), a wide range of open businesses in the destination (10%) and being within driving distance (6%).
This cautious approach is reflected in travelers’ attitudes about face masks, as well. More than two-thirds (67%) of advisors say their clients are willing to wear a mask in public areas of a resort (when not eating, drinking or swimming/exercising), and (57%) say the same about cruise ships.
In addition, 97% of respondents note that it is very or somewhat important that a destination follows strict safety guidelines, such as limiting indoor capacity, requiring masks at all times and allowing outdoor dining only.
RELATED: Most Americans Prefer Travel Destinations That Require Face Masks in Public
Genung, who recently returned from a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico, said he was very impressed with how the resorts he visited adhered to enhanced health and safety measures.
“Speaking with other guests, they felt that this attention to detail was the primary reason they felt comfortable returning,” he said. “As wearing masks in our everyday life becomes more normal, I am starting to see guests change the way they feel about masks and travel. Masks now seem a lot more feasible and something that Americans who choose to travel prefer. I found that it did not impair my resort experience at all.”
“Need to Know” is a new weekly research series from TravelAge West that tracks the responses of advisors as they relate to various travel trends and topics. This survey recorded the responses of 636 advisors across the U.S. Click here to see more Need to Know stories.