“Revenge travel” here to stay; Positive sentiment goes up - AiConnects.us
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“Revenge travel” here to stay; Positive sentiment goes up

Ai Editorial

 “Revenge travel” here to stay; Positive sentiment goes up  

Signs of positivity around travel – even though cautious – is something that the entire industry can look forward to.

12th May, 2021

Is the travel gearing up for a real recovery? The industry is used to a chequered revival, but the outlook of certain markets is bringing in good news.

As it has strongly emerged over the last two months or so, a nation like the U. S. is expected to witness a rise in leisure spend from here on. According to a survey by McKinsey initiated in the recent past in the U. S., “around half of consumers plan to spend extra to splurge or treat themselves, with notable differences by income and generation”. Travel and vacation related spend has been termed as one of the most popular splurge. Also, planning a vacation again is not about a vaccine shot but rather government restrictions being lifted. It would be interesting to see how travel brands look at leisure spend, be it for their core products or dining, events, gym/ health sessions, salon, family entertainment etc.

Lufthansa Innovation Hub, in its latest newsletter, emphasised that the pandemic has not led to a structural shift of traveller confidence being shattered. It stated: “people’s thirst for travel is universal and unshakeable”. It highlighted that in the US and China, where domestic travel bans are almost fully suspended, “total flight capacity is already back to 75% and 93% of pre-Covid levels”, respectively.

Also, this month’s Duetto Pulse Report shows some solid – if tentative – causes for optimism in terms of recovery. According to Duetto, North America and Latin America, in particular, are showing strong increases in activity in terms of pace, pick up, and web traffic. And Europe isn’t too far behind, thanks to its successful vaccination programs being rolled out across the region and COVID cases continuing to fall.

Touchless experience

How ready are executives to travel for a conference or event for business from here on?

According to a poll conducted during Ai’s Touchless Experience Virtual Conference last week, 41% are willing to travel in 2022 and 23% in Q3/ Q4 of this year. In fact, 3% are willing to do it now! 12% mentioned after 2022, and rest 15% still unsure or aren’t aware.

“The poll exactly says what we are seeing,” said Harold Batiste, SVP Sales Operations, HPN, who added that organizations have shown a varied level of risk tolerance regarding meetings. On the positive side, according to Batiste, certain organizations have enquired about what was cancelled for meetings, say scheduled for October or November of this year, re-checking availability over the last two weeks or so.

“Lot of our clients have the confidence to go ahead with meetings,” said Tulcy Patel, VP Global Accounts, HPN.

Brands prepare, but can’t fall short of expectations

Avis Budget Group continues to come up with vital initiatives, be it for sanitation or reduction in human interaction, to ensure expectations of customers are being met.  The group has worked out partnerships to enhance the cleanliness and disinfection of its rental facilities and vehicles, plus it is also expanding contactless rentals for customers through its app, (digital check-in and a streamlined way to collect a rental vehicle), shared Jeanette Harper, Director of Travel & Partnerships, Avis-Budget Group during Ai’s Touchless Experience Virtual Conference. As a response to the pandemic, the group set up its Avis Safety Pledge and Budget Worry Free Promise to keep customers and employees safe. All of these initiatives are resulting in favourable customer satisfaction scores.

(IHG’s preparation: InterContinental Hotels to let travellers travel on their own terms)

Airlines, hotels and other travel companies must evaluate the situation and ensure they don’t fall short of expectations, be it for the core product or service associated with their brand, stated Gary Leff.

Can an airline serve X as part of the meal and not Y, just because of the pandemic and their aircrew being at risk because of that – do ensure such reasoning is justified. Focus should be making the trip enjoyable in today’s context.

Also, what are health-related requirements? What if someone isn’t willing to be vaccinated but only opts for testing? Dig deep, rather than just sticking to an old theory or mandate. Because all of this can come across as an excuse.

As more people get vaccinated or get closer to comfortable with traveling, brands are going to be exposed if they fall short on expectations, said Brad Horowitz, CEO, Elite Marketing Group.

From reaching out to consumers’ perspective, Horowitz said, “As long as you market safely and appropriately you can capitalize on this environment whilst maintaining and even improving brand image.”

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