Last year, we saw the unimaginable. The travel industry was hit hard as countries implemented travel restrictions and Covid threatened our well-being and safety. We all hope to leave the rising number of Covid cases, new regulations, and reinforced lockdowns in the past. As we optimistically approach 2021, what should we expect from the travel industry? What emerging trends will we need to pay attention to? And what will 2021 look like for travellers?
Currently North America has faced an increasing number of COVID cases each day, and governments are struggling to balance the survival of the economy while ensuring the safety of their citizens. Even with vaccines available, it will not be the solution to all Covid related issues. Therefore, travellers will still approach early 2021 with hesitancy as they begin to see the effects of vaccines and understand what is safe.
Technological Advances and the Recovery
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization there will be more than 1.8 tourists in 2030, 400 million less than the number of tourists in 2019. As hard as it is to believe, the travel industry will recover with flying colours. By 2040 researchers believe that there will be a great number of technological advances in the travel industry leading to the complete recovery of the travel industry. In the upcoming years we can expect to see technological improvements including faster ground travel such as trains and improved check-in processes in airports; both factors that will reduce travel time and hassle. These improved conveniences will reduce barriers and aid in the recovery of the travel and tourism industry.
Flexibility will still be an important factor
When it comes to booking tickets and airlines, the ability to cancel and reschedule tickets on short notice and the waived cancellation fees will still be an important service that travellers look for. No one person can definitively predict the future of 2021, which means that the availability of contingency factors will be highly demanded by consumers when they make travel bookings. Especially during 2021, travellers will look to the cancellation guidelines before making any decisions on placing a booking. Likewise, many airline companies are aware of the demand for flexible booking and will offer these services to build anticipation. If a traveller chooses not to complete the trip, that feeling of restlessness and excitement will attract travellers back to their website.
Health and cleanly facilities will still be important
A clean facility is going to be one of the most important concerns for travellers in 2021, even despite a decreasing number of Covid cases. Airline, hospitality, and restaurants will realize that in order to attract new customers and compete with their competition, they will need to maintain these Covid standards and guidelines. These maintenance and safety procedures will play an important part in the worry-free and hassle-free customer experience which will increase customer satisfaction and their willingness to return. Travellers will be less willing to explore a city or area where these standards are not enforced, which means these companies will play a crucial part in the recovery of the travel industry in 2021.
Rebound travel will boost the travel industry
When planning future travels, rebound travel will inflate the number of travellers in the upcoming months. The idea of rebound travel surrounds the idea that travellers will attempt to make up for lost time by travelling as soon as they are able to. It can be expected that on average people will have a higher budget and stay at more “luxury” places. For most, travelling is an escape and the physiological appeal of distancing oneself from the chaos surrounding covid will be a driving factor in the number of travellers in the upcoming months. According to the Amex Trendex Report, the number one thing consumers will be saving for in 2021 is travel, followed by home improvement.
It will be a while before travel and the tourism industry can fully recover. However, there are many people itching to plan their vacation as soon as possible and are willing to do so with moderate to low risk. As travellers begin to see through others that travelling can be executed safely, they too will do the same. Although we cannot place certainty on a specific date, we do know that one day travel will resume and all be good.
If you want to learn more about travel and the travel industry click here to read more!