Travellers have maintained high standards their hotels must continue to meet despite the pandemic, a study has found.

A survey of more than 2400 people in Australia, the US and UK has found travellers won’t accept falling standards in their hotel accommodation once travel habits roar back to life, despite acknowledgment of the issues the industry has faced.

The ‘Changing Traveller Report 2021’, conducted by SiteMinder, canvassed opinions from more than 800 people in each of the three countries and shows traveller expectations have remained high throughout the pandemic.

Citing pent-up demand among travellers surveyed, the report found 1 in 2 Australians expect their hotels to be operating at the same standard of service as prior to the pandemic, if not higher, despite understanding of high employee attrition levels suffered during the economic downturn.

Travellers are happier than ever before to book direct with a hotel if payment platforms are secure.

Compared to pre-pandemic times, 60% of Australians, 61% of Brits and 78% of American travellers say they plan to travel as much as they used to or more. SiteMinder says the result should be viewed optimistically by hotels as the demand is ready and waiting to get going again once vaccination levels reach a critical mass.

More than three in four of those surveyed across the three countries say they do not mind if their personal information is used by a hotel to improve the quality of their stay. SiteMinder says this presents an opportunity for hoteliers to communicate more with their guests and develop further ways to personalise a guest’s stay and capitalise on more personal levels of customer service desired.

Negative guest reviews can damage a hotel if standards have dropped.

SiteMinder Senior Director of Global Ecosystem, James Bishop, says the survey findings show traveller demands are unrelenting and tolerance levels will be low for dropped standards.

“There are material consequences for hotels that aren’t prepared, including lost business, a tarnished brand and the dreaded negative online review, which is the last thing hoteliers need after the year they’ve endured,” Bishop said.

“To keep pace and ensure their reputations remain intact, hoteliers must continue to elevate their offering and look to technology to help them through such things as automation and guest data, which gives the ability to understand guests better and personalise communications.”

The survey also highlighted a need for hoteliers to triple check and ensure the integrity of their direct booking payment mechanisms, with investments in payment security an important consideration to maintain and elevate trust levels of their guests.