Turning Point | Travel Research Online


Turning Point

Today, in an article on ATI-DriveAmerica, TRO posted a video produced by Clayton Reid, the CEO of MMGY Global. The presentation is an important, clearly stated, and credible explanation of not only the current status of the travel industry, but also regarding the likely path of the road to recovery.

Chinese characters for CrisisI highly recommend you watch the video and take notes in an effort to plan your own path into the recovery. It confirms the industry is at a turning point, but a path to recovery is emerging and all segments of the travel professional community much be prepared and dexterous enough to make the change and market ourselves into the post-pandemic future.



Clayton Reid’s brilliant presentation sets out the many factors at play:

  • Social media’s reach and influence has turned a health crisis into a broader cultural crisis;
  • Although travel represents 10% of the global economy at $10 Trillion dollars, approximately 1.3 trillion dollars has been clipped from the world travel economy;
  • The pandemic’s impact on travel can be broken into 4 phases:
    • Fear
    • Understanding
    • Action
    • Rational Behavior
  • Leisure travel’s recovery will be largely led in the beginning through domestic road travel where people can most easily control with whom they interact;
  • Corporate travel will emerge more slowly as the current technologies used to facilitate remote meetings are adopted in the long run;
  • Protocols regarding cleanliness and safety are likely here to stay;
  • Segmentation of your database based on income is an important step in reaching the clients most likely to travel earliest;
  • Air travel will recover more quickly than anticipated;
  • Outdoor venues will lead the recovery;
  • Lead times for booking will shorten during the recovery;
  • He re-defines the understanding of some of the “false narratives” of millenials, Generation Z and “Generation Alpha” indicating new ways to market to travelers will need to look at  predominant characteristics other than age and date of birth;
  • Marketing will continue to suffer from a lack of trust in advertising;
  • Brand will continue to be very important in marketing and advertising;
  • Digital marketing will continue to dominate;
  • Google, Amazon and other large, high-tech companies will emerge as strong post-pandemic players;

These are only a few of the salient points of Reid’s presentation.

Some have incorrectly identified the Chinese word for “crisis” as being composed of Chinese characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity.” In actuality, the better translation is “Danger” and “Turning Point”, the time when a change begins. If there is indeed an opportunity in what we are all living through, it will be up to leaders in the travel industry to craft the opportunity necessary to exploit the changes underway.

Click here to view the presentation

  2 thoughts on “Turning Point

  1. Nancy Bender says:

    Very interesting presentation. I am particularly concerned with the last fact you posted above. When things start moving back to somewhat of a normal state, Google and Amazon dominating travel isn’t going to help us much. From what I understand it looks like Amazon has plans for consumers to put together travel packages that can include air, hotel, transfers, dinner reservations, excursions, etc. Considering how people like to get things done quickly and are used to fast shopping now with Amazon how do we possibly compete? I am sure consumers will love that, it sounds like it will be very efficient. For us, It can take ALL day (or longer) to put a complete trip together for a client. The way we work is quite archaic compared to what Amazon and Google will be able to do. For us, its waiting on hold with suppliers, putting components together from quite a few places, (which takes a lot of time to compare), never-ending log-in and supplier website issues, etc. We just aren’t set up to be able to work quickly, so how can we fix that? Not to mention it will be so much easier for Amazon and Google to target clients. That is also a lengthy process for us between blogging, direct mail, social media, etc. The quicker and more efficient we can work, the more we can compete and the more business we can do. Most of the systems we all use to put together a trip do not even communicate with each other. I am concerned. We are having dialogs now on how to change our business after the pandemic, I definitely want to hear about how we can work more efficiently than before.

    1. Nancy – yes, the OTAs will remain a factor, but it is clear from the events of the Covid-19 scenario that agents are vastly superior to OTAs for purposes of responsiveness to clients’ needs in all circumstances. We have to play to our strengths because the OTAs are not going away.

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