Wealthy Travelers Concerned About Device Security, Cleanliness In Post COVID Era, Studies Say

Importance of Travel and Tourism

Importance of Travel and Tourism

Oracle or Skift recently completed research called A Data-Driven Look at Hospitality’s Recovery, which involved 4,600 potential travelers and 1,800 operators in the hotel and travel sector in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The research was carried out to understand the changes regarding the experience of guests, employees, the evolution of reservations and the prospects for recovery in the sector after the pandemic.  A separate study by Kaspersky Lab reveals rich and affluent travelers also want more security provisions to protect their phone, work, online tech, IM courses or other training devices from being subject to cyber-crime and ID theft.

From the data collected it emerges that, after the travel restrictions for the health emergency, people want to travel—just over half (51%) of the people interviewed in North America and Latin America plan to book a trip in the next six months, while 38% of those in Asia-Pacific and Europe are planning a vacation. The latter have other travel purposes that may vary from a business trip to Tokyo, to a pilgrimage to buy fashionable clothes in Moscow. People prefer destinations that can be reached by car (47%) and within their own country (44%). But it is critical for 76% of these that, due to the situation, flexible cancellation and refund policies are provided and are even more interested in hotels that offer discounted rates (65%).

Travelers want more cleanliness and contactless solutions

However, the desire to travel requires greater attention from workers in the sector with regard to the cleanliness and technology of hotel facilities. To meet the needs of the public, 70% of hotels are already adopting, or planning to do implement, solutions based on low touch or even contactless technology for check-in, ordering meals, concierge services and more.  90% have planned or are planning to also increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitization and to improve staff training on these procedures and on how to make interactions with guests safer (89%).

“The hospitality sector is on the right path to recovery and economic recovery: technology will play a fundamental role especially as regards the protection of both travelers and operators,” said Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality. “Safety rightly remains the top priority of those who plan a trip and the sector is doubling its commitment to adopting technology that facilitates physical distancing by reducing interaction with customers in person to ensure maximum protection for guests.”

Travelers expect booking flexibility

Oracle and Skift’s research found that the sector still pays the consequences from the emergency situation that sees limitations on international borders, with flights that have not yet returned to full schedule. The hotels therefore find themselves welcoming new types of travelers to offer a positive experience that leads them to choose the commercial offer again and contribute to word of mouth.

The closure of the borders changes the profile of the guests. Over 30% of the managers of the sector said they expect a greater or significantly greater number of domestic travelers and more than 60% expect a lower or significantly lower number of international travelers (this it is not a problem, for example, in North America, where most of the guests were already domestic travelers, even before the health crisis)

New policies for meeting travelers. Hotels are moving quickly to meet customer requests with more than 80% of hotel managers surveyed declaring that they have considered or have already implemented changes in favor of cancellation policies and refund more flexible.

Safety will be the new reference standard.  It’s not surprising that environments and cleanliness remain critical aspects, with 84% of travelers agreeing that rules that guarantee the physical distance to be applied in shared hotel spaces will be the most important factor decisive in their choice of travel. Hotel managers seem ready to meet these expectations, with 82% already changing, or planning to reorganize spaces to ensure appropriate safety distances.

Technology becomes fundamental for guests

Always according to Oracle research, technology is one of the most important aspects that guests evaluate when choosing a structure. This helps to ensure physical or social distance, and improves hygiene aspects—thus reducing the need for interactions in person, or contact with less hygienic travelers. The hotels can therefore meet these cleanliness needs by providing a high level but ‘contactless’ service. In particular:

Hotels become ‘contactless.’  Over 70% of hotel executives said they are considering – or are already using – contactless payment and digital messaging services and almost 60% have considered or are already using digital keys, activated via smartphone to access the rooms. Customers agree, indicating that contactless payments (35%), digital room keys (26%) and messaging services (20%) are the top three points that would make them feel most comfortable in a hotel.

Self-service tools allow guests to avoid reception. Over 70% of industry workers agree that self-service technology will be important in helping guests minimize unnecessary contact, with two thirds (67 %) who are using – or are considering using – self-service check-in procedures. 70% of consumers agree that they would be more willing to stay at the accommodations that have implemented this type of service, with 23% expressly saying that a self-service check-in via totem would increase their comfort.

More services, fewer interactions. Over 60% of respondents reported having considered or adopting changes to increase options regarding room services and 50% are trying to expand the possibility of takeaway or delivery of meals. A fifth of guests believe that expanding room service is one of the main safety factors as it allows them to avoid the common areas of hotels, such as restaurants.

Wealthy and business travelers are more likely to face identity theft, than theft of their money

One in five people have fallen victim to cyber crime while abroad, while the percentage rises to almost a third (31%) among senior managers. Yet half of the people who travel for work (54%), and up to 62% of managers, do not adapt their behavior when abroad, even though they are far from the security of their corporate network and are managing the private data of own employers.

Kaspersky Lab conducted an investigation into a sample of 11,850 people from Europe, Russia, Latin America, Asia Pacific and the United States. The study found that the request to stay connected blurs the judgment of affluent business travelers when they are online, and ignore how widely security standards for these gadgets and devices may vary overseas. Three out of five senior figures (59%) say they try to access the Internet (for recreation, or for digital marketing and training purposes) as quickly as possible upon arrival abroad, as colleagues expect them to stay connected. When business travelers reach the arrivals terminal, one in six uses their work device to go online.

Almost half (48%) of the senior managers and over two out of five middle managers (43%) use unsafe public Wi-Fi networks to connect their work devices abroad, while at least two out of five users (44% and 40% respectively) use Wi-Fi to send work emails with confidential attachments or sensitive data. One of the reasons why business travelers behave in this way, the report reveals, is the widespread belief that their work devices are intrinsically safer than private communication tools, regardless of how they are connected. Two out of five users (41%) expect their employers to have implemented strong security measures. This is particularly evident among business executives (53%) and mid-level managers (46%).

Almost half (47%) think that if employers send staff overseas, they must accept any security risks that may arise. But most business travelers, and especially business leaders, don’t help with their indiscriminate behavior abroad. One in five senior employees (20%) admitted to using work devices to access sensitive websites via Wi-Fi, compared to an average of 12%. One in four (27%) do the same for online banking, while the average is 16%.

“First, we recommend explaining the risks to employees, as awareness is the first step towards protection. Another important countermeasure is security when connecting to dangerous networks, using, for example, a VPN to access the corporate network and email encryption. In addition, multi-level endpoint protection should be implemented, including anti-malware, exploit prevention and host-based intrusion protection modules, firewall, URL filtering technologies and installation of the latest software and system patches,” said Morten Lehn, a General Manager speaking for Kaspersky Lab.

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