“It’s an important factor in the current reluctance to travel even when we can.”
Suzanne Sangiovese, Commercial & Communications Director, Riskline
“When I read the headline that ‘catching coronavirus on a flight is less likely than being struck by lightning, according to a recent statement by IATA’, I wasn’t surprised, as I spend much of my working days reading travel information and objectively assessing the implied risks.” says Suzanne Sangiovese, Commercial & Communications Director of travel intelligence specialists Riskline. However, not everyone is accessing the same reliable data and information.
“In the same week, a survey by OAG revealed that nearly half of travellers feared catching coronavirus on board a plane.”
Mind the gap
“This all reminded me how important the perception of risk is in our lives and made me realise that the gap between the perceived and actual risk of travel since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived has been widening significantly despite the vast quantity of information increasingly available.
“I actually think that information overload, conflicting information and misinformation about COVID-19 are rife and are important contributory factors in the increase in this gap. They have created uncertainty which, coupled with emotional responses and actual risks including the inconvenience of being put into quarantine and the availability of Zoom meetings as an alternative option, is an important factor in the current reluctance to travel even when we can.
Confidence is the watchword
“The impact of uncertainty is reinforced by polls which show that the more safeguards are in place, the more likely travellers are to be confident to resume travel. Confidence is the watchword here. Several industry experts have told me that travellers with organisations that offer more structure and solutions - such as online booking tools, travel management companies and mandated travel policies - tend to have more positive feelings about starting to travel again. At Riskline we have also seen a pattern of increasing demand for information services as companies start to think about allowing their staff to travel.
“Cutting through the vast amount of misinformation, providing consistent, trustworthy data such as the IATA survey and communicating it to corporate travel managers and travellers are essential if we are to close the gap between perceived and actual risk and give travellers confidence.”