Pent-up demand: the editorial dilemma | TravelResearchOnline


Pent-up demand: the editorial dilemma

The editing part of having a media company is not near, not even close, to being the fun part. Seldom is there a reason to get excited about looking for typos, correcting grammar or determining if the article’s author can back up their remarks with solid evidence. Then, we have an episode like we had last week and things get a bit more interesting.

TRO has in the past few weeks brought on several new writers: Steven Frankel, Cheryl Rosen, David Cogswell and Richard D’Ambrosio. Within a day of each other, Richard and David turned in articles that kept our article editor, Joey DeLoach, both amused and perhaps a bit confounded.

In short, D’Ambrosio indicates the phrase “pent-up demand” should be banned from use while Cogswell sees “pent-up demand” as a “literal truth.”

From an editor’s point of view, a periodical really should seek to reconcile such vastly different perspectives. After all, one would hope Truth is hiding somewhere in the weeds. Cogswell points to a survey where 46% of respondents indicated if the pandemic ended tomorrow, travel would be the first discretionary spend consumers would make. D’Ambrosio indicates the phase is “an amorphous term that often leads to a false sense of security, that ‘everything is going to be alright.’

Well, alrighty then. Which of these two fine writers is correct? D’Ambrosio wants proof and Cogswell provided a survey and results of respondents. I don’t really have to consider splitting the baby here to say both writers make valid points, and maybe even bring to the fore a more important point.

Mexico and Jamaica are opening up as are Costa Rica and Belize. I have taken two significant road trips over the past few weeks and I have two others planned. Last week in Savannah, Georgia, the streets and stores were active with well behaved out-of-state visitors. I ate meals indoors at socially distanced tables and outdoors at open air restaurants. My hotel, The River Street Inn, was clean and had in place protocols to protect the staff and visitors alike.

Would I recommend the most vulnerable of our population begin to immediately travel? I would not. Do I think travel is possible to do safely? I do.

The failure to create a national strategy is badly hurting the travel industry. A small but not inconsequential recovery is underway, but continues to be threatened by the government’s failure to provide consistent messaging to the public on the merits of mask wearing, social distancing and the protection of the most vulnerable of our citizens. The inconsistencies from state to state, in a country so mobile and dependent on tourism dollars as our own, threaten the livelihood of those in the travel industry.

Is there “pent-up demand?” I personally can’t wait to go to Europe, so speaking for myself, and for nearly everyone I speak with, yes. Are we ready to open the gates? Not really. But, the Congress needs to release additional funds to protect the travel industry. The executive branch needs to speak clearly and to assist the travel industry to science our way through this situation.

Let me be clear. I don’t care about your politics. I do care about this industry. If we don’t quit politicizing every post, every inquiry, every article, then politics is all we will have available to us. We have the unfortunate circumstance of an election year coinciding with the worst disaster the travel industry has ever faced. I would really like to see travel professionals as well as associations, host agencies and consortia, begin speaking with one voice, to effect one result: the recovery of our industry.

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