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Gauging the Public’s Appetite for Hospitality and Tourism Activities

By: Steve Orbanek
First Published: June 19, 2020
Topics: Covid-19 Response, In the News, Research, STHM School, Tourism & Hospitality, U.S.-Asia Center

Detailed survey from Temple faculty members outlines what consumer expectations could be for the hospitality and tourism industries following COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA, June 17, 2020 — As the saying goes, there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal. We’re finding that there’s nothing like dining out, either.

Cabin fever is very real, and that’s especially true when living through a global pandemic like COVID-19. According to new research from faculty members in Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) and the school’s U.S.-Asia Center for Tourism and Hospitality Research, the ability to visit restaurants is one thing folks have greatly missed over the last few months. In fact, once COVID-19 is in the rearview, the research indicates that people might choose to dine out even more than they did prior to the pandemic.

A research team led by Lu Lu, an assistant professor in the school, and Xiang (Robert) Li, professor and director of the center, recently conducted a national survey which explored US consumers’ travel intentions and expectations for hospitality business post COVID-19. Approximately 900 questionnaires were collected as part of the survey, which took a close look at respondents’ experiences, attitudes and future intentions with regard to traveling and visiting hospitality-related businesses. STHM faculty members Laurie Wu, Yang Yang, Wesley Roehl and Lindsey Lee also helped lead the study.

“Although the pandemic has paralyzed our travel and hospitality industry in the past few months, it is exciting to know that consumption needs remain strong for the rest of 2020,” Lu said.

The survey included individuals between the ages of 21-64 from across the country, and 57.4% of the participants had a college degree or higher while 94.6% had been sheltering-in-place during the pandemic. One key takeaway of the survey is that many respondents expressed a desire to immediately start visiting restaurants and eateries as much or even more than they did before March 2020. 

Some of the businesses respondents seem most excited to visit include:

  • Quick service restaurants: 71.4% suggested “about the same” or “much more than before” 
  • Casual and midscale: 62.8% suggested “about the same” or “much more than before” 
  • Fine dining restaurants: 53.4% indicated “about the same” or “much more than before”
  • Coffee shops and bakeries: 66.5% suggested “about the same” or “much more than before”

The businesses or activities that gave respondents the most hesitation in the future were:

  • Night clubs: 55.3% suggested “much less than before”
  • Indoor concerts/performance/movie theater: 53% “Much less than before”
  • Week/month-long cruises (1-4 weeks): 55.7% “much less than before”

The survey also took a close look at future travel intentions. A total of 71.6% respondents “somewhat agree to strongly agree” that the “potential risks of contracting COVID-19 during travel” would play a key role in their decision to take a trip.

For those who would choose to travel, purchasing insurance is key. According to the survey:

  • 57.7% of respondents “somewhat agree, agree, or strongly agree” that “Compared to the days before COVID-19 outbreak, I now think purchasing travel insurance is more necessary”
  • 58.6% indicated they “somewhat agree, agree, or strongly agree” with the statement “Compared to the days before COVID-19 outbreak, I now think purchasing travel insurance is more important”
  • 55.7% “somewhat agree, agree, or strongly agree” that “Compared to the days before COVID-19 outbreak, I now hold a more favorable attitude toward purchasing travel insurance.”

According to Xiang (Robert) Li, professor and director of the U.S.-Asia Center for Tourism and Hospitality Research, these results should not come as a surprise.

“American travelers are taking travel insurance more seriously these days. We will likely see more innovative collaboration between the tourism, health and insurance industries,” Li said. 

A broader look at the survey and its results are available here. For more information, contact Li at robertli@temple.edu or Lu at lu.lu0001@temple.edu

About the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management

Established in 1998, the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) at Temple University has a distinguished tradition preparing leaders in the sport, recreation, tourism and hospitality industries. 

Thoroughly committed to providing student-centered education and professional development relevant to today’s thriving sport, tourism and hospitality industry — STHM integrates applicable, real-world experience into the curriculum and classroom through its global network of industry partners and well-connected alumni network. Our award-winning faculty and cutting-edge research institutes engage in pioneering research, informing business practices and providing students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in these fast-growing industries. 

The School offers undergraduate degree programs in sport and recreation management and tourism and hospitality management; traditional graduate degree programs in sport business, and hospitality management; and two online graduate degree programs in executive sport business and travel and tourism. STHM also offers a PhD program in business administration with a concentration in tourism and sport.