Cheval survey reveals attitudes of frequent travellers to accommodation and flying

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 10 August 2020


UK: The Cheval Collection has revealed the findings of a survey of frequent international travellers.

The survey found that a fifth of people would be now be "very happy" to visit London for a business, or for a leisure trip and half would be very happy to visit Edinburgh. There were 1,876 respondents to the survey - UK residents make up 81 per cent of respondents, with seven per cent from the USA. The remaining responses come from more than 100 different countries. Respondents represented multiple professions including healthcare and medical (11 per cent), education (10 per cent), government/public sector (eight per cent), finance and technology (eight per cent) and banking and finance (six per cent).

When questioned about their intention to travel by aeroplane, 54 per cent said they would be very or somewhat likely to take a short-haul flight (travel time of less than four hours) in the near future. This percentage fell to 33 per cent when asked the same question for long-haul flights of more than four hours’ duration. Of all respondents, 80 per cent said mandatory face coverings for passengers would make them feel more secure when travelling, with 91 per cent expecting frequent cleaning of surfaces and touchpoints.

More than 86 per cent would expect to be offered hand sanitiser during their journey, but fewer than half would expect flight crew or ground staff to be wearing gloves or face shields. A smaller number of respondents said they would only fly commercially if they were surrounded by empty seats.

When staying in accommodation, almost 95 per cent would be reassured by more frequent cleaning of surfaces and touchpoints, with 90 per cent expecting hand sanitiser at check-in. Around three quarters of people would be further reassured by temperature checks on arrival and clear social distancing signage in place. 74 per cent of those who responded would be favourable to a keyless and touchless check-in process, using their phone to gain access to their apartment or room.

Cheval currently operates properties in London and Edinburgh. The likelihood that non-residents would be confident to book accommodation in London for business purposes fell to 61 per cent, compared to 91 per cent when asked the same question in October 2019. The percentage of those feeling very or somewhat confident to travel to London for leisure purposes was only slightly higher at 63 per cent. Residents of the city and its surrounding commuter belt were only marginally more likely to feel confident about visiting the city, with 67% expressing moderate or high confidence levels. When broken down by age profile, those aged 55 or older were significantly less likely to feel confident about leisure travel to London, with only 55 per cent saying they were very or somewhat confident to do so. Confidence levels were much higher in the 18 to 34 age bracket, at 73 per cent.

Serviced apartments were the clear winner when choosing accommodation, with 70 per cent saying they would be very or somewhat likely to choose this option.
60 per cent would also consider staying in a traditional hotel bedroom, however only 42 per cent would consider a privately owned property booked via an Airbnb-style platform. There is a stark generational divide in terms of attitudes to AirBnB-style properties, with almost two-thirds of those aged 34 or younger likely to consider this method of booking accommodation, compared to only one-third of those aged 55 or above.

Confidence levels in travel to Edinburgh amongst non-residents are only slightly higher than those for London, at 64 per cent and 68 per cent for business and leisure purposes respectively, suggesting that people perceive the two cities to present a similar level of risk. Among Edinburgh city and area residents, however, confidence levels in planning business and leisure trips are significantly higher, at 88 per cent and 93 per cent, respectively.

As in London, serviced apartments were the most preferred choice when booking accommodation, with 66 per cent of respondents considering this option, followed by 58 per cent for hotels and only 39 per cent for Airbnb-style platforms. These numbers were almost identical whether the purpose of the journey was for business or leisure.

George Westwell, CEO of Cheval Collection, said: “Our 2020 business research shows both the opportunity and the challenge ahead for hospitality. We asked how confident people felt about travelling to London and Edinburgh for business or leisure without a proven Covid-19 vaccine and were pleased to see that nearly seven out of ten people surveyed said they’d be either somewhat or very happy to visit London. Eight out of ten said the same for Edinburgh. It was interesting to see people have the same attitude whether they were considering business or leisure travel but it’s worth noting broadly a third of the audience we talked to expressed concern about travelling and so it’s very clear that hospitality and airline brands need to reassure travellers very clearly on all the initiatives taken to keep them safe.”


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