RESEARCH: Post-pandemic Aussie travellers crave social connection

Happy family cheering and toasting with red wine glasses at dinner outdoor - People with different ages and ethnicity  having fun at bbq party - food and drink, retired and young people concept

Aussie travellers want a holiday where they can enjoy and foster social connections with other people, according to new research from IHG Hotels & Resorts’ voco Hotels.

Coming out of the most recent lockdown and with borders beginning to reopen, Aussie travellers have shifted their priorities.

According to the report, 41 per cent of Aussie travellers are craving more connections and conversation while they travel compared to pre-pandemic, 67 per cent think sustainability is important when choosing a hotel and late-night food service tops the Aussie travel wish list.

Victorians reported the highest level of craving for connections (48 per cent), which is unsurprising as Melbourne was the most locked-down city in Australia and one of the most locked-down cities in the world.

IHG managing director of Australasia and Pacific, Matthew Tripolone, said with the new traveller priorities comes new demands and standards for hotels.

“As Australia’s borders reopen and pandemic restrictions lift throughout the country, travel-starved internationals and Aussies will be looking to travel more, both domestically and internationally,” said Tipolone.

“The research shows we need to keep on top of what our guests want, as travel priorities from every country have changed.”

Some other findings from the report show that travellers want a more personal and individualised travel experience, with much of this including better hospitality service.

When asked what is on Australians’ wish list from a hotel, most requested late-night comfort food (34 per cent), in-room afternoon tea or happy hour delivered directly to their room (34 per cent), and personalised welcome packages (33 per cent).

Aussie travellers also reported wanting longer food service hours (44 per cent), more buffet/help yourself options (42 per cent), and a variety of cuisines on offer (39 per cent).

“Travel has changed, and consumers’ expectations have too. With nearly half of travellers stating they want to be valued as an individual, a one-size-fits-all approach to hotel service no longer resonates with travellers,” said Tipolone.

In terms of a sustainable hotel, things travellers would like to see include hotels using glass instead of plastic (68 per cent), less food waste (63 per cent), less single-use plastic (60 per cent), less unnecessary washing (46 per cent), and options for lowering water usage (43 per cent).

Featured image: iStock/Alessandro Biascioli

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