The pressing question on many lips is this: What will travel look like post pandemic? Will we all jump aboard a plane and resume as though COVID was never an acronym?
Humans are curious creatures; we will always be drawn to new places, experiences, people and cultures. It’s in our DNA; it’s how we grow, learn, create, empathise and build. Travel ignites knowledge, connection and memories. Ideas and entrepreneurs and empires are born in far-off places.
So, what are the solutions to this airway conundrum, what does the future of travel look like and what does it mean for business owners, executives, adventure-seekers and holidaymakers the world over?
International arrivals went from 70 million in 1960 to about 1.4 billion in 2019, taking travel to an estimated eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The recent pause in C02 emissions has regenerated the Earth in visible and undeniable ways, posing the question to the industry; What will you do to sustain this rejuvenation? The future of travel sees that carbon offsets will become mandatory. Anyone in the clean energy business should be partnering with airlines now.
Accelerating the future of business, it's now completely acceptable – and possible - to hold several meetings across the globe every day, online. As companies readjust their expenses, hindsight tells us the amount of business flights pre-pandemic was utterly absurd. There is a more time-efficient and cost-effective way, and COVID has handed it to us on a platter. In-person business meetings will be available to the elite and this is where airlines will hike their prices.
Off the Beaten Track
Standing in hordes of tourist crowds no longer seems appealing and urban jungles are a bucket-list destination no more. When travel is back on our radar, many of us won’t be drawn to the usual tourist hot spots. Instead, we will venture to new places off the beaten track. Clean air, natural spaces and separate accommodation are high on the bucket list.
The tourism industry has been hit hard. And while the planet begins to breathe again, so many businesses and people are struggling. So how will they reframe their businesses? They’ll advance technology and move to virtual, audio and video experiences. As well, as the group tour seems less appealing, we will see the rise of the one-on-one guided tour.
National governments will protect their own economies. To assist local travel industries, undoubtedly grants will be provided to businesses in tourism, compelling us to wander into our own backyard.
The health regulations we are seeing now will become permanent. Waiting in the queue at every restaurant, ride and event due to increased sanitisation? That’s not going anywhere. New automated methods of cleaning are bound to come into play, and businesses in hospitality and tourism will remain vigilant around hygiene indefinitely.
A new wave of adventure travel is upon us. The first traveler to head back into the skies will be the adventurist. Tourism had better be prepared to lift their marketing efforts and pivot their products to fulfil some wild and untamed dreams. Additionally, generous cancellation policies will need to be implemented as uncertainty still rocks the seasoned traveler.
Staycations and Daycations
Holidaymakers are the least likely to be post-pandemic travellers, upon noticing that their own hometown has so much to offer. Staycations and daycations are set to become the new normal for this demographic. Hotels and experience-based companies will need to edit their communications to attract local communities. On the plus side, small businesses should see a spike. If you’re a locally made, hand-crafted or niche business owner, this is a great time to increase your marketing efforts and leverage off other local businesses.
We are already seeing a surge in home renovations and maintenance. Get set for some sci-fi inventions sent directly from 2050 to 2021. The home-tech industry will be working hard right now to come up with new ways of creating the ultimate in-house experience.
To improve transition through airports, technological advancements will be underway. Think at-home temperature testing apps and location-based automated check-ins; anything to make the process quicker and less congested.
As the traveler pockets their annual flight money, expect to see an increase in the sales of cars, campervans, FWDs and camping goods.
With predictions that consumers won’t return to the skies until 2023 or beyond, what does that say for the cost of flights? With so many unknowns, it’s difficult to predict the supply and demand, but what’s certain is that with less consumers willing to take to the skies, prices will drop, at least in the short-term.
To overcome the bad publicity cruise lines have endured over the past few months, they are going to have to go to every effort to reacquaint with even the most avid cruise lover. Going above reduced fairs and increased hygiene, expect to see on-board cinemas, high-end food, new attractions, celebrity shows, luxe accommodation and a vastly improved experience. What once was a mobile hotel will become a mobile city in order to get passengers back on board.
What are your thoughts on the future of travel? Join the conversation here!