2020 has been the year of the “unprecedented”: a word which few of us will have used before in daily life, but which has now become a huge part of our ever-changing situation.
Everything about this year has been a challenge, particularly for the travel industry which currently finds itself in the midst of both reopening resorts and holiday destinations, while also making crucial decisions about the future of airlines, hospitality companies and future plans for 2021 and beyond.
So, if we could look into a crystal ball, what do we expect to see for the future of the travel industry?
The immediate future facing the travel industry
Unfortunately for many companies, individuals and countries, the disruption is not likely to end anytime soon. With cases rising all over the world at staggeringly different rates, with little knowledge around exactly when a vaccine will become available and how quickly it will be distributed, the idea of travel – particularly abroad – is one which many are still refusing to entertain.
For those who are taking the plunge and booking holidays abroad, many have found quarantine rules to be changing during their holidays, meaning that upon return they are forced to self-isolate and take a step back – effectively making any kind of travel a gamble no matter where the destination may be.
And then there are those locations which are all but isolated from the rest of the world, with borders closed and no immediate change to that imminent until cases around the world begin to slow down again.
The fact is, the immediate future is as uncertain as the current situation we find ourselves in, and so the travel industry is being forced to find new ways to adapt.
Adapting for the immediate and long term future
One of the primary ways in which the travel industry can – and is choosing to – adapt is through the re-targeting of resorts, holiday destinations and hotels, reaching out to local travelers and holidaymakers under the guise of the “staycation”.
What this means for many is that they are having to adjust their marketing tactics and instead herald the community benefits which come from travel, encouraging locals to invest in those businesses and companies which rely on the tourist trade to stay afloat and which benefit the community as a whole. Redressing tourism as an industry which needs local support to stay alive is key, and is an idea that many are embracing as a way of creating local partnerships between businesses and supporters.
And finally, there’s the importance of transparency and a vigilant reaction to the pandemic, which becomes even more crucial once destinations are able to welcome foreign visitors again. Being able to showcase and prove your Covid-19 regulations and safety features can mean the difference between a successful reopening and one which falls flat; combining the health and safety elements with the high end experience that visitors have come to expect from your resort.
As soon as the world reopens, demand for high end travel and luxury holidays will spike. It’s our job as an industry to be ready for that spike, and able to manage it safely when it finally does arrive.