Will pandemic precautions ease the headache of future travel? Many Americans hope

According to a new study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of LivePerson, close to three out of four (73%) would prefer to message their airline or hotel instead of calling when they travel. (Photo by Elly Johnson on Unsplash)

A new study has found two-thirds of Americans can no longer stand to be around crowds and other people now.

A survey of 2,000 general population Americans has found 65% cannot tolerate crowds and will do everything in their power to avoid standing in lines, especially at the airport.

Seven in ten (72%) said they’re better off the less direct contact they have with other human beings while traveling.

The pandemic has also made a permanent impact on how we view travel. Whereas 58% of people said traveling usually gave them a headache before the pandemic, nearly as many (57%) said it’s now easier for them to get to their destination.

Major pre-pandemic annoyances like checking in to flights and hotels (46%), packing clothes (44%) and waking up early (43%) have all become easier because of the pandemic.

Still, some negative aspects of travel persist. Only 17% said booking tickets and 18% said planning trips were easier now than before.

Commissioned by conversational AI company LivePerson and conducted by OnePoll, the survey found 63% of people have made major changes to how they travel, including packing more consciously, ensuring they include some pandemic staples such as extra masks (58%), disinfectant wipes (56%) and hand sanitizer (54%) before they travel.

The pandemic has also changed our tolerance for minor inconveniences. Sixty-one percent of people get annoyed easier now than ever before. Simple tasks like eating and drinking (54%), unlocking their phone (49%) and wearing glasses (48%) are a struggle because of masks and gloves.

For two out of three (63%), those common annoyances extend to customer service. On average, Americans spend 12 hours per month on the phone with customer service. Two-thirds of respondents would be thrilled to never deal with customer service again.

“From being uncomfortable standing around people in lines to dealing with excessive hold times on the phone, it’s clear that people still think there’s major room for improvement in how we travel,” said LivePerson CEO Rob LoCascio.

However, smartphones — and messaging specifically — are proving to be key in helping remedy some common pain points. Six in 10 would rather use their phone to message someone than speak to someone face-to-face (61%) and to solve annoying pandemic-era problems (63%).

In fact, people would rather text or message for everything — from receiving a refund to blocking exes to chats with doctors. One respondent said, “I’ve used my phone to text my kids and tell them to call me. It’s been useful to get out of awkward situations and conversations.”

Messaging can also help ease travel annoyances. Close to three out of four (73%) would prefer to message their airline or hotel instead of calling when they travel. And nearly as many (71%) are comfortable having their airline or hotel text them directly, especially if an upgrade is on the line.

“Having the power in your pocket to text an airline or hotel to book flights and rooms — plus getting help when you’re already on the go — means messaging has become a true lifeline for travelers,” said LoCascio.

WHAT’S EASIER NOW THAN BEFORE THE PANDEMIC?

  1. Standing in lines 48%
  2. Checking in to flights & hotels 46%
  3. Packing clothes 44%
  4. Waking up early 43%
  5. Boarding procedures 39%
  6. Talking to customer service 38%
  7. Spending money on snacks and food 36%
  8. Getting gas 32%
  9. Being timely 31%
  10. Getting a chance to relax or catch my breath 28%
  11. Being around other people 21%
  12. Planning out trips 18%
  13. Booking tickets 17%

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