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Sodexo Unveils Consumer Sentiment Study, Showing How Travelers Gauge Returning to Airport Lounges

November 18, 2020

New data explores whether airport lounges still provide a moment of peace during busy trips

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (November 18, 2020) – Sodexo Sports & Leisure – the division dedicated to live events, sports, cultural destinations and airport lounges – today announced the results of a new survey which found that comfort levels are high across subsets of nationally representative travelers from the US, United Kingdom, France and Spain.

The goal of the research, conducted by Harris Interactive exclusively for Sodexo, was to look quantitatively at the consumer sentiment for visiting airport lounges in a COVID-19 environment and bring tangible third-party insights to client partners.

A sample size of 1,000 people per market who had visited or attended at least one of five specific venue types in the past 12 months (including visiting an airport lounge) were surveyed. The purpose was to understand how likely it is that travelers will return to airport lounges again in the future (and when).

Among other key findings, the numbers definitively show that pre-flight relaxation is the main reason for feeling comfortable to return to lounges across all markets.

“We know that an airport lounge provides a precious moment to work, rest or enjoy the hospitality services while traveling. Whether it is for business or pleasure, the lounge provides a safe haven from a busy airport environment to relax, unwind and prepare for the next stage of travelers’ journeys,” said Suzy Kitcher, CEO, Sodexo Global Airline Lounges. “As we welcome guests back to our lounge spaces, the data proves that health and safety continues to be top of mind, and we will rely on our systematic and comprehensive reopening approach – Rise with Sodexo – to help our clients implement the properly enhanced protocols.”

Amongst the key takeaways of the new study for Airport Lounges:

  • WHAT? Between 50% and 70% of consumers feel at least somewhat comfortable visiting an airport lounge as soon as they are open again.
  • WHY? Of those who feel comfortable returning, why do they primarily visit, and what are the top reasons they cite for wanting to go back?
    • Pre-flight relaxation is the main reason for feeling comfortable to return to lounges in all markets.
    • Getting work done is also a key reason for wanting to return in the US, driven by male respondents.
    • Around 4 in 10 (37% UK / 41% US / 46% FR) are not worried about Coronavirus when in an airport lounge setting; in Spain, this drops to 3 in 10.
  • WHEN? When will global travelers feel comfortable returning to airport lounges?
    • The intention to return to airport lounges as soon as possible varies between countries, with the US and France being more likely than others. Spain is the least likely with 1 in 3 not motivated to visit prior to a vaccine being available.
  • HOW? How can airport lounges instill comfort and confidence in travelers’ minds? What are the contributing factors?
    • People would feel more comfortable visiting a lounge if certain factors were adhered to:
      • Proper social distancing guidance
      • Mandatory use of hand sanitizers
      • Compulsory wearing of masks (in the UK, lounge staff wearing masks and gloves ranked higher in consumer sentiment than guests to the lounge wearing masks)

With a portfolio of over 170 lounges across four continents and over 30 million travelers served each year, Sodexo provides comprehensive lounge management for today’s business and leisure travelers.

The bespoke offering increases operating efficiency and optimizes value by bringing the latest insights to airline partners and airport lounge operators from an experienced team of data experts along with world class food and service. Sodexo partners with several world-renowned airlines and lounge operators such as American Express, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific and Airport Dimensions.

To learn more about how Sodexo’s innovative approach to premium lounge services can help secure consumer confidence and build traveler loyalty, please click here to learn more.

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About Sodexo Sports & Leisure

Sodexo Sports & Leisure operates and manages prestigious venues and major events around the world. Combining technique and creativity, our turnkey solutions cover ticketing, travel, foodservices, logistics, marketing and technical organization. In this digital age, Sodexo helps clients integrate new technologies into their events offering innovative and personalized services. Sodexo contributes to the success of prestigious events such as Royal Ascot, the Super Bowl, the Tour de France and the Rugby World Cup, and makes exceptional places shine like the Eiffel Tower, Bateaux Parisiens, the National Gallery in London and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Find out more at www.sodexo.com.

About Sodexo

Founded in Marseille in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. Operating in 64 countries, Sodexo serves 100 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits & Rewards Services and Personal & Home Services. Sodexo provides clients an integrated offering developed over more than 50 years of experience: from foodservices, reception, maintenance and cleaning, to facilities and equipment management; from services and programs fostering employees’ engagement to solutions that simplify and optimize their mobility and expenses management, to in-home assistance, child care centers and concierge services. Sodexo’s success and performance are founded on its independence, its sustainable business model and its ability to continuously develop and engage its 420,000 employees throughout the world. Sodexo is included in the CAC Next 20, ESG 80, FTSE 4 Good and DJSI indices.

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