Industry Experts: Backpacker Intentions Post COVID
Hostelworld recently carried out a sentiment survey with their Backpacker customers. The Survey was to establish the thoughts of the Backpacker community about traveling post-COVID. 2,623 Backpackers from 110 Countries took part in the survey.
This survey is especially useful for Hostels beginning to think about what changes they need to make to operations once the travel ban has been lifted. It also gives insights into Backpacker concerns. This will be helpful to Hostels when marketing their accommodation.
What Are you doing during the travel ban?
More than 1,300 Backpackers (50%) said that they were already planning their next trip. So now is the time to be marketing, particularly on Social Media. You don’t have to be ready and open but you can re-post photos and video’s to catch the eye of people already planning their trip!
524 people said they were online and traveling virtually to fix their wanderlust. whilst more than 1,000 were watching travel documentaries or movies. 63% are following Travel Influencers or Bloggers. So if an Influencer or Blogger has previously featured your hostel, get in touch with them about a re-post or update post.
How quickly will you travel after the ban is lifted?
More than half of those surveyed felt that Backpackers would be back traveling as soon as possible. 45% didn’t know or didn’t think they would travel again straight away.
When asked how long it would be before they traveled again, 15% were optimistic and said that they would be traveling within 1-2 months of the travel ban being lifted.
But most felt it would be at least 3-4 months after a travel ease, before they traveled again. 45% of them suggested it could be 6 months (20%) or 12 months (25%) before they would start traveling again.
How will you travel?
More than 55% of people said they would be traveling solo. 24% plan to travel with friends and 15% will travel with their partner.
On trips before COVID:-
- 67% (1,757) of Backpackers stayed in Dormitories with a shared bathroom
- 19% stayed in a Dorm with ensuite bathroom
- 7% stayed in a Private Room with ensuite
- 7% stayed in a Private Room with shared bathroom
When it comes to booking accommodation Post-COVID only 45% said they would still book a Dorm with shared bathroom. Those planning to book a Dorm with ensuite only rose by 1% to 20%.
681 people said that they planned to book Private ensuite rooms in a post-COVID World (26%) compared to the 183 people (7%) who booked private rooms prior to COVID.
Only 78 people said they would upgrade to a Private Room with shared bathroom.
36% said they would be willing to spend more by booking in to private Hostel rooms, if it meant spending less on other elements of their trip. 262 people said that they would probably book fewer Hostels for their travel.
What are your concerns about staying in a Hostel Post-COVID?
The four main areas of concerns Backpackers have for staying in hostels are as follows:
- Cleanliness (49%)
- Dorm beds not adequately spaced apart (45%)
- Sharing with Strangers (38%)
- Guests not socially distancing (37%)
27% said they were concerned that Hostels will lose some of their social atmosphere as a result of regulations and measures brought in to protect Backpackers from infection.
27% were also concerned about the experience of Hostel staff in implementing health & safety measures and protocols.
14% said they weren’t worried about any issues.
What can Hostels do to encourage Backpackers to book with them?
Whilst this was a question that was specific for Hostelworld, some of the survey answers are just as relevant for independent Hostels hoping to attract back bookings.
Key responses, which are of use to Independent Hostels, are as follows:
- 50% said Credits or Cashback would encourage them to book through Hostelworld – this could be adjusted to Discounts for Hostels attracting back returning Backpackers or to encourage them to book a sister Hostel in another location.
- 48% want assurance that Best Practice is being applied with COVID Safety Guidelines & 23% want to see your guidelines.
- 40% want assurance that destinations are safe – so don’t just communicate how your Hostel and Staff are ensuring guests safety, but how your destination is too
- 28% want to book Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Hostels. This is travel ethos Industry Experts predicted tourists would become more concerned with.
Hostelworld also promoted some of their hostels which have adapted to the Travel Ban.
Once Again Hostel, Bangkok adapted in to a Delivery Hub; connecting food vendors, restaurants and delivery riders with people stuck at home, recruiting struggling motorbike taxi drivers for delivery services. The Delivery Hub ended up covering 15 Districts and was dispatching 10-30 orders a day.
You can check out our article about Adapting Your Business here