Kiwi.com Research by STEM/MARK: What is the Slovak Covid-19 travel experience?
Last-minute bookings and European destinations are seen by Slovaks as the solution after Covid-19 hit their travel plans hard
A survey by Kiwi.com and the STEM/MARK research agency has shown that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected three quarters of Slovak travellers, with over one third having been forced to completely abandon their travel plans this year. One in six respondents experienced flight cancellations.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Slovak travellers now favour destinations closer to home. For almost three quarters of Slovaks, long-distance destinations are out of the question under the current circumstances. Half of respondents (more than Czech) expressed their preference for short-distance travel within Europe, or even within Slovakia itself. Such attitudes were especially common amongst women, while men seem less likely to change their travel habits.
“This impression is in line with our booking data, which shows the continued popularity of favourite European destinations such as UK, Italy and Greece, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Eliška Dočkalová, Kiwi.com Director of Customer Experience.
A quarter of respondents opted for domestic trips rather than travelling abroad this year. Although nearly three times more Slovaks than Czechs planned to stay within their own country this year, in the end Slovaks travelled abroad slightly more frequently than their neighbours.
In general, however, the survey shows that Slovaks are much more cautious than Czechs when it comes to travelling nowadays. Young people worry more about complications surrounding travel than other generations, while large families are more likely to worry about health. On a positive note, four-fifths of Slovaks would love to travel if they could. Only one-fifth claim to have lost interest in travelling altogether.
Safety precautions regarding travel are thought sufficient by 40 percent of people
Current travel safety measures are considered sufficient by 40 percent of respondents, with men more likely to be content with the current measures than women, who tend to be more cautious. If Slovaks could change anything about the current travel situation they would choose the possibility of rapid COVID-19 tests at airports (51 percent) and they would improve refund policies (41 percent, concerning refunds from the carrier to the client). A third of respondents would appreciate the possibility of choosing flexible ticket options in case of cancellations.
“We are already seeing both carriers and airports implementing new solutions to make travelling easy, even during the pandemic, and to enhance safety standards for passengers. For example, contactless and digital solutions are now commonplace and free COVID-19 tests are sometimes provided. Emirates Airlines will even cover medical costs arising from COVID-19 infection,” explains Eliška Dočkalová, Kiwi.com Director of Customer Experience.
Over 40 percent of Slovaks would travel immediately or next year
In comparison to Czechs, Slovaks are more cautious about travelling during the pandemic. Slovaks tend to be happy to wait for the situation to develop before making any firm travelling plans. They also place a greater emphasis on safety than Czechs; safety is, in fact, three times more important for Slovaks than enjoyment when it comes to travelling right now.
One thing which Covid-19 has definitely changed is traveller expectations regarding booking. Half of Slovak travellers are now looking to book flights at the last minute to minimise the risk of cancellation. A fifth of travellers will book their flights early and hope for no nasty surprises, while a third will stick to their old ways of booking. Frequent travellers, those whose plans were ruined by Covid-19, and people over 45 years of age are now especially likely to make last-minute bookings.
“At Kiwi.com, we have seen a significant rise in last-minute bookings. We are now seeing 20% of all our bookings being made less than 48 hours before departure,” said Eliška Dočkalová, Kiwi.com Director of Customer Experience.
One third of Slovaks still prefer air transportation
Almost a third of respondents stated that due to the impact of Covid-19 on travel they would now choose ground transportation instead of flying. However, two-fifths said that they preferred ground transportation before Covid-19 anyway, and that their preference has stayed the same. A third said they would still prefer flying over ground transportation. Unsurprisingly, singles and frequent travellers are more likely to choose air transportation, while large families are more likely to travel by car, bus or train. Combining air and ground transportation was seen as a great alternative by a third of respondents as long as it helps them get where they need to be.
*Research by STEM/MARK research agency: conducted in October 2020 on a representative sample of 1012 respondents (18-59 years) who had traveled abroad at least twice in the last 5 years, using the online survey method.
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Kiwi.com was founded in 2012 by Oliver Dlouhý and Jozef Képesi. The travel tech company was created for travelers by travelers. Its proprietary algorithm – Virtual Interlining – allows users to combine flights and ground transportation from more than 800 carriers, including many that do not normally cooperate. Kiwi.com powers more than 100 million searches every day and employs 2,000 people worldwide.
Carol Barnes, Head of Global Communications, Kiwi.com
Nina Černá, Best PR