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School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business at Washington State University
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COVID-19 Report for the Restaurant and Hotel Industry
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Pullman, WA – May 2020 / Newsmaker Alert / Researchers from the School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business at Washington State University has been conducting a study on consumers’ dining out and hotel stay sentiments.
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COVID-19 Report for the Restaurant and Hotel IndustryDue to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US economy was shut down almost overnight. The pandemic has confronted the restaurant and hotel industry with an unprecedented challenge. Almost all restaurants were asked to limit their operations to only take-outs. Restrictions placed on travel and stay-at-home orders issued by the governors of many states resulted in sharp decreases in hotel occupancies and revenues. While most of the hotels are still open for business, they are operating at a significantly reduced capacity. However, the reopening process has slowly begun and Governors in some states have started easing restrictions, for example, allow dine-in restaurants to reopen at a reduced capacity with strict social distancing guidelines. Now the big question remains: what are the customers’ sentiment about patronizing a restaurant or a hotel in the time of coronavirus? Are they ready to return?

This report presents the findings of a study that investigated individuals’ sentiments towards re-patronizing hotels and sit-down restaurants after stay-at-home orders are lifted, based on the data collected from 785 American consumers between May 1 and May 7, 2020.

Customer sentiment towards dine-in restaurants:

  • If stay-at-home orders are lifted tomorrow, 65.86 percent are not willing to dine in at a restaurant immediately.
    • Only 21.04 percent are willing to dine in at a restaurant immediately.
  • Close to half (47.77%) will wait at least 1-3 months or longer to dine in with a friend at a restaurant.
    • Only 28.35 percent indicated that they would dine in at a restaurant immediately or within 1-2 weeks of re-opening.
  • Visible sanitizing efforts (such as sanitizing tables and chairs in front of the customers, hand sanitizer stations throughout the restaurant, staff wearing mask) and implementing social distancing are the most important safety precautions customers expect from a restaurant.
  • Casual or family style restaurants are the first they will patronize.
Customer sentiment towards traveling to a destination and staying at a hotel:
  • If stay-at-home orders are lifted by June 1st, most (56.44%) are not willing to travel to a destination and stay at a hotel in mid-June or July.
    • Only 26.49 percent is willing to travel to a destination and stay at a hotel in mid-June or July.
  • More than half (60.12%) will wait at least 3-6 months or longer to travel to a destination and stay at a hotel.
    • Only 39.78 percent will travel to a destination and stay at a hotel right after the stay-at-home orders are lifted or within 1-2 months.
  • More than half (62.93%) will wait at least 3-6 months or longer to travel to a destination with a friend and stay at a hotel.
  • Visible sanitizing efforts (such as hand sanitizer stations throughout the property, staff wearing mask) and more rigorous cleaning procedures are the most important safety precautions they expect from a hotel.
  • Beach or lakeside getaways and road trips through scenic countryside are the first travel experiences consumers would like after the stay-at-home orders are lifted.
PDF Report

About Washington State University
Washington State University (WSU) is one of two comprehensive universities in the public higher education system of the state of Washington. Established in Pullman in 1890 as the state’s land-grant university, WSU became a multi-campus system in 1989 with the establishment of three additional campuses (Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver) throughout the state. WSU has 10 academic colleges and a graduate school. Visit www.WSU.edu for more information.

Courtesy Of:
Dogan Gursoy, Ph.D.
Taco Bell Distinguished Professor
School of Hospitality Business Management
Washington State University
shbm@wsu.edu
509-335-5766

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Publishing Dates: 05/14/20 – 07/14/20
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