Understanding Trust in Travel Post-COVID


Human Intelligence

In 2021, the tourism and travel industry faced an unpredictable future fueled by unclear traveler sentiment. Travelport, a worldwide travel retail platform, wanted to understand where the pandemic upended traditional travel needs and left consumer trust gaps. We partnered with the online travel retailer and identified gaps in price transparency, COVID-19 health and safety measures, data privacy and information credibility.  



Travelport, a worldwide travel retail platform offering distribution, technology and payment solutions for the travel and tourism industry, needed to understand the industry's perceptions at the start of the post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery and to address consumer trust gaps by identifying the drivers of trust in travel. To confidently lead the travel and tourism industry into a post-pandemic world, Travelport sought to understand consumers' needs and expectations from industry players such as airlines, hotels, price comparison platforms and travel agencies. 


As the world’s leading authority on trust measurement, Edelman Data and Intelligence (DXI) created a quantitative global perception survey to take the pulse on consumer trust in travel. We surveyed more than 10,000 people across the UK, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the US, Canada, India, Australia and New Zealand to assess elements of trust in the travel industry following a global pandemic.  

The survey, comprised of a 15-min questionnaire, was translated and localized into five languages (along with English as a primary language). The sample of respondents included 1,000 frequent travelers per market, with 2,000 travelers surveyed in India. We analyzed data on both the global and country level, and identified subgroups based on demographic, behavioral and attitudinal variables. The breakdown provided a detailed understanding of the different travel categories and their stance on trust in the industry. 


Travelport learned that trust’s role in travel is profound. In fact, almost half (46%) of travel consumers prioritize trust over all other factors when choosing a travel supplier. Our findings also exposed trust gaps within the travel industry and revealed opportunities to rebuild trust. Namely, the essential role of trust in price transparency, COVID-19 health and safety, data privacy and information credibility. These trust gaps showed travel sectors where they can meet consumers to accelerate the industry’s recovery post-pandemic.  

The survey illuminated price transparency’s importance; the two most important factors in building consumer trust in travel agencies and travel suppliers are having “no hidden costs” (55%) and “fully flexible or refundable products” (45%). Trust’s role in price transparency is further emphasized in the research, with having “no hidden costs” being 16% more influential on trust than an airline’s long-term safety record.  

The other standout insight was COVID-19 health and safety, which revealed how safety standards have changed in a post-pandemic world. More than 56% of travelers said the travel industry has done well in implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures. However, around half said they would like more reassurance on how robustly some measures are being enforced, in particular, improved air filtration, social distancing and managed boarding and queuing. 


The comprehensive survey was an authentic glimpse into the travel and tourism industry during tumultuous times. The research study revealed a first-time glimpse into travel industry trends post-COVID, a topic that initially revealed no findings. Now armed with a new, data-driven perspective on how trust in the industry affects travelers’ attitudes and behaviors, the organization could gauge the changing travel consumers’ expectations on various sectors within the travel industry. The study enabled Travelport to move forward in their mission to boost global recovery by addressing consumer trust gaps throughout the industry.  

The research was used to create mediagenic content for Travelport, which was published in a dedicated section on Travelport’s website, discussed in the Hello Modern Retailing event and disseminated through a press release which key outlets relayed. 

Read the full public report at travelport.com/trust.

Trust hinges on expectation: 

  • 46% of travelers prioritize trust over everything else when selecting a travel provider 

The two most important factors in building consumer trust reveal the essential need for price transparency:   

  • 55% of travelers ‘no hidden costs’  

  • 45% ‘fully flexible or refundable products’ 

COVID-19 health & safety is tied to trust 

  • 56% of travelers said the travel industry has done well in implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures. 



of travelers prioritize trust over everything else when selecting a travel provider


of travelers trust major international and regional airlines


of travelers trust low-cost carriers