We all have been crystal-balling what the future of the travel industry may look like when the COVID-19 pandemic is finally in our rear view mirror. But the truth is that none of us know. The best we can do is keep looking at studies and prepare ourselves to (and I really hate this word now) pivot as needed when the time comes. With that said, I have seen some interesting studies that might help us all crystal ball a bit.
I think that leisure travelers will be opting for the familiar and trusted. Exotic destinations, especially ones with sub-standard medical care, will be a tough sell. Familiarity and comfort will be their guide. From plethora of studies I have seen, let me cherry pick some of the statistics that make me perk up a bit.
- Airbnb did a study that showed that 56% of those surveyed prefer a domestic property. Only 21% would want to look internationally
- 20% of Americans claim that they want their destination to be within driving distance (under 10 hours)
- Another study showed that 59% of families say they are inclined to drive, rather than fly, on their next trip
- 29% of respondents would be interested in an RV rental. Up from 3% pre-pandemic
- 60% of the people surveyed said they would prefer to travel with family and close friends and would hesitate to travel with a group or packaged tour
- 86% have said that health and safety protocols would be a deciding factor in any travel plans
Some of those percentages were pretty startling to me. Granted, people are a fickle bunch and as the COVID situation changes, so will the perceptions, wants, and needs of the traveling public.
And, while it never hurts to renew relationships and learn new things; these stats tell me that travel advisors will need to have answers to satisfy most customers. Reach out to your preferred suppliers and modify your vendor profiles in your CMS for COVID protocols. Bone up on the traffic patterns for your drive clients and identify destinations that are within that comfortable drive window. I have never had a relationship with an RV company, but will look into it now, along with campgrounds and destinations and properties that accept RVs for parking, etc. And with a hesitancy to participate in a packaged tour, we all should freshen up on packaging our own tours for clients at their destinations; and of course we need to know the COVID protocols for those vendors as well.
It’s not going to be an easy transition back to whatever normal may be. And it will look a lot different. But now, while it is still slow as we begin to recover, is a perfect time to bone up and pivot (still hate it) for what might be coming down the road for us.
Thouhts? Leave a comment!