As vaccination rates continue to rise and government border policies change, the need for hotel quarantines is waning.
But what are the next steps for hotels that have been operating as quarantine facilities for two years, and will they be negatively labeled due to their association with the pandemic?
A University of Queensland study looked at what people think of hotel brands that have been used as quarantine facilities, and the results show a big difference between hotels that volunteered for quarantine, compared to those which were run by the government.
Led by Dr. Monica Chien, Associate Professor Sarah Kelly and Dr. Wen Mao of UQ Business School the study, which involved 447 Australian travellers, investigated people’s perceptions of COVID quarantine hotels and the potential for stigma in being associated with the pandemic.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, hotels around the world, from 3-star luxury resorts to 5-star luxury resorts, have been used to isolate travellers,” Dr Chien said.
“While some might assume that being a COVID quarantine facility might create some stigma for a hotel brand, our research found that hotels that stepped up to provide quarantine services were seen as ‘good corporate citizens’. “.
“Meanwhile, hotels that have been directed by the government to become a quarantine facility have received less favorable brand ratings.”
Dr Chien said there were many reasons why hotels might have been reluctant to welcome quarantined travellers, including concerns about lingering negative perceptions, reluctance from employees or fear of losing brand prestige. .
Associate Professor Kelly added: “Hotels are concerned about factors that can stigmatize their brands, such as staff management, treatment of lone travellers, negative comments on social media and the risks of the virus spreading within of the hotel”.
“Because the pandemic generates a shared sense of threat to people, stigma can be even more ingrained when a quarantine hotel’s operations change.”
Associate Professor Kelly said the study findings could help the hospitality industry‘s post-pandemic recovery.
“Hotels that have voluntarily signed up for quarantine could highlight the ‘greater good’ of their contribution during the pandemic while mitigating possible stigma effects.
“Meanwhile, hotels that haven’t volunteered needn’t worry – our research found that committing to a good cause, such as donating to charity, can boost positive hotel reviews. the brand.”
Dr Mao said the study followed other research published late last year that examined people’s perceived susceptibility to COVID.
“These studies will help inform governments, health and tourism organizations as we progress through the pandemic,” Dr Mao said.
“We will also apply this research in other areas of the tourism and hospitality industry such as attractions, transportation and restaurants.