New research from travel technology specialist Amadeus has indicated that both business and leisure travellers see digital health passports as a vital tool in opening up travel. However, their views on use of data, brands and technology adoption are varied and that will remain a challenge to tailor the passenger experience and install confidence back into travel.
With some borders now starting to reopen, we’re seeing the return of optimistic travellers with strong pent up demand evident in many parts of the world. As vaccine rollouts continue, we’re at a pivotal point to rebuild travel for the benefit of business and leisure travellers, as well as the industry as a whole, but there is no one single perfect solution.
Amadeus conducted a survey with Censuswide in late Feb-2021 across nine markets (UK, Spain, Germany, Russia, the UAE, France, India, Singapore and the US) learning the sentiment towards digital health passports and travel technology among over 9,000 business and leisure travellers. The results, released this week, show some common trends, but also some notable differences that will challenge the adoption of such processes.
Overall confidence in digital health passports among business and leisure travellers was found to beis high: 60% of the business travellers and 48% of leisure travellers stated they would book international trips three to 12 weeks after restrictions are lifted.
More than nine in ten (92%) of the business travellers and only slightly less (88%) leisure said they travellers would be comfortable using digital health passports for future travel, highlighting how they could be key to unlocking both leisure and business travel.
There is also shared recognition of the benefits in storing health data electronically. More than two in three (71%) business and leisure travellers said they would be willing to store travel health data digitally if it enabled them to pass through the airport faster with fewer face-to-face interactions.
Two thirds of business (68%) and leisure (66%) travellers also indicated they would be willing to store travel health data electronically if it enabled them to travel sooner. Seven in ten (70%) business travellers and almost the same level of leisure travellers (68%) would do the same if it enabled them to travel to more destinations.
Standardisation and regulation were also found to be essential to instilling confidence among both business and leisure travellers. Just under half (47%) business travellers and half (50%) leisure travellers said they would be happy to use a digital health passport if it was accepted by most countries and regulated by international standards.
But privacy and data protection concerns are acute among leisure travellers, notably higher than with business travellers. The survey found 41% of leisure travellers were concerned about the security risks with personal information being compromised, decreasing to just over one in four (28%) business travellers. Only 27% of business travellers are concerned about what health information needs to be shared, which rises to 35% among leisure travellers.
While privacy and data protection are concerns for leisure travellers, brand loyalty is more key to rebuilding confidence in business travellers. Around two in five (39%) business travellers said they would be happy for a digital health passport to be used if they were travelling with a trusted travel company. This was more than ten percentage points above the level among leisure travellers, where only 28% stated that a trusted brand mattered.
Similarly, approaching three-quarters (73%) of business travellers said they were more likely to feel comfortable sharing health data if the airline they most frequently travelled with offered a way to store that data in an app they used. This was up a fifth versus the 61% of leisure travellers who said the same.
There are also shifts in sentiment towards technology between business and leisure travellers, according to the research. One in four (25%) business travellers said that voice recognition technologies increased confidence in travel, versus 16% of leisure travellers. A third (33%) of leisure travellers were more likely to prefer self service check in to build confidence against 27% of business travellers.
The survey also shows that although both business and leisure travellers see the value of biometrics, they do so at different stages of the journey: 55% of leisure travellers were comfortable using biometrics at boarding gates, which dropped to 47% among business travellers; 33% of business travellers were comfortable using biometrics at conferences and events, which dropped to 19% among leisure travellers.