Hygiene, sanitization and social distancing tops the priority list of travelers as opposed to ‘On-time’ travel while leisure travel takes a back seat, according to a survey in the time of COVID-19 pandemic.
The findings highlight that bus and train travelers are optimistic of travel in next three months as opposed to domestic air travelers.
The demand for travel disappeared instantly, turning the traditional summer season into the “cold winter”. On one hand, the industry is struggling with zero revenues and on the other grappling with changed consumer sentiments on travel post the COVID era.
It also appears that a large number of travelers currently stuck in the ‘wrong’ cities, impacted by timing of sudden lockdown and as per the survey conducted by IntrCity RailYatri, over 31 per cent Indians expressed to get home as their immediate priority.
IntrCity RailYatri, an inter-city mobility network, released the report titled ‘Decoding inter-city traveler sentiments post COVID’ based on their survey of the train and bus travelers.
This survey was aimed at gauging the impact of the lockdown on the intercity mobility space and current customer sentiments around travel.
A surprisingly large (38 per cent) travelers displayed a high level of optimism regarding the return to normalcy. Around 35 per cent were unsure. 25 per cent of the participants believe that it will be a while before life goes back to the way it was.
Professional or work-related travel takes top priority followed by social travel as opposed to planned holidays. A whopping 71 per cent participants indicated drop in their planned holidays this year.
The survey, is a compilation of responses and sentiments of over users across metros, tier-1, and tier-2 cities of India. Conducted between April 15 and May 7, the survey was rolled out to travelers between the age group of 18 years to 52 years. Findings from the survey were analyzed and studied by IntrCity RailYatri’s data insights team.
Commenting on the current customer sentiments, Manish Rathi, CEO of the RailYatri said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the whole inter-city mobility industry in 2020 to come to a halt. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, consumer sentiments and preference have changed drastically, health safety becoming the priority for everyone.”
In response to the survey, over 42.48 per cent of travelers opted for hygiene and sanitization as one of the parameters, completely changing the definition of ‘Travel Safety.’
The results show, Hygiene, Sanitization, and Social Distancing are going to be on the top of consumers’ minds, way beyond than just “on-time” journey promise, which has historically been a clear winner.
According to the survey, leisure travel to take the biggest hit with 71 per cent participants indicated drop in planned holidays and festive travel.
It also says that online booking receives boost due to COVID impact as over 90 per cent participants to opt for online booking to avoid physical interaction moving forward.
In a pre-Covid market, one of the primary concerns of the travelers was ‘On-time’ journey, however after the global pandemic, the concern has shifted towards safety and hygiene. Over 70 per cent of the respondents in the survey picked either ‘Hygiene and Sanitation’ or ‘Social Distancing’ as their top criteria.
Kapil Raizada, Co-founder felt it was imperative to understand the needs of the customers, “The survey has brought forward some very interesting insights in the decision- making pattern of customers in a post COVID market.
Our intention behind this activity was to gain deeper insights into the evolving mindset of inter-city traveler. Taking these insights into account, IntrCity RailYatri will be introducing a number of innovations to address the needs of our travelers.”
Findings reveal leisure trips are not people’s first choice anymore for domestic travel. From the perspective of various travel options taken into consideration, the percentage of travelers who intend to have a relaxing tour, account for 25.3 per cent; at the same time, more than 33.41 per cent surveyed festivals and social occasions as the only reason for their future travel.
As per the finding, inter-city travelers would prefer online methods of ticket booking than offline in the near future. Among the participants, 59.3 per cent said ‘Yes’ to the online mode of booking and only 9.8 per cent would continue to prefer offline methods of ticket booking. Remaining participants are already utilizing online booking for their travel needs.
Hygienic waiting and boarding conditions top concern for bus and train travel as 41.24 per cent claim they want stringent prevention and control measures at the boarding point while 34.4 per cent opted for social distancing in waiting areas hoping for a protected, and safe environment.
Low-touch activities will be preferred, attracting both new and frequent travelers post COVID-19, according to the survey. For the initial 6-8 months, travellers may prefer a destination that has remained relatively safe during the pandemic.
IntrCity RailYatri is a multi-modal intercity mobility platform, based in Delhi NCR, India.