As vaccination rates continue to rise and government border policies change, the need for hotel quarantine is diminishing.

But what are the next steps for hotels that have been operating as quarantine facilities for the past two years, and will they be negatively labeled for their connection to 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 have volunteered to quarantine and those that have been directed by the government.

Led by Dr. Monica Chien, Associate Professor Sarah Kelly and Dr. Wen Mao of UQ Business School, the study that included 447 Australian travelers, examined people’s perceptions of COVID quarantine hotels and the potential for stigma associated with the pandemic.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, hotels around the world, ranging from 3-star to 5-star luxury resorts, have been used to isolate travellers.”

dr Chien, Associate Professor, University of Queensland

“While some might assume that a COVID quarantine facility could create some stigma for a hotel brand, our study found that hotels that offer quarantine services are viewed as ‘good corporate citizens.’

“Meanwhile, hotels ordered by the government to become a quarantine facility received less favorable brand ratings.”

dr Chien said there are many reasons hotels may be reluctant to quarantine travelers, including concerns about lingering negative perceptions, staff reluctance or fears of losing their brand prestige.

Associate Professor Kelly added: “Hotels are concerned about factors that may stigmatize their brands, such as staff management, the isolation of travelers, negative comments on social media and the risk of the virus spreading within the hotel.”

“As the pandemic creates a shared sense of threat to people, the stigma may be further entrenched if the operations of a quarantine hotel change.”

Associate Professor Kelly said the study’s findings could help the hospitality industry recover from the pandemic.

“Hotels that have volunteered to quarantine could emphasize the ‘higher good’ of their contribution during the pandemic while mitigating the potential stigma effects.

“Meanwhile, hotels that haven’t volunteered need not fear – our study found that volunteering for a good cause, such as charity a charitable donation, for example, can drive positive brand reviews.”

dr Mao said this study followed other research published late last year that examined people’s perceived vulnerability to COVID.

“These studies will help inform governments, health and tourism organizations as we continue to move through the pandemic,” said Dr. mao

“We will use that too Research in other areas of the tourism and hospitality sector such as attractions, transportation and restaurants.”


The University of Queensland

Magazine reference:

Mao, W., et al. (2021) Optimistic bias and perceived vulnerability to COVID-19 among Australian travelers. Taylor and Francis Online.