TripAdmit’s John Maguire says there are definite signs that travel is on its way back but firms must rethink their commercial approach
Guest Post: How to ensure the ‘revenge travel’ bounceback is sweet, not sour
John Maguire, chief executive of TripAdmit says there are definite signs that travel is on its way back but firms must rethink their commercial approach
Let’s get back at Covid and 2020 & 2021 when most of us had a dismal time. That’s essentially what ‘revenge travel’ is all about.
The gloves are off (or in this case the masks are getting ready to come off) and people are ready to travel again, despite the some of the hoops they have to jump through to travel overseas.
Revenge travel is coming in many forms, from the loss of last two years’ plans and the desire to see family and friends again, many are caring less about the price tag attached to their holiday.
The travel industry has already noticed a change, with travellers upgrading packages and extending hotel stays in order to get more out of what they’re paying for.
Travellers are spending more and adding aspects to their trips that wouldn’t normally happen in an otherwise pandemic-free world.
According to PwC, consumers are willing to spend more money (13%) for upgraded accommodation at 28% for longer periods, with almost 25% planning trips to Europe from the US in 2022.
Most indicators point to travel coming back even more this year—as people look to reconnect, explore new destinations and experiences, or revisit old favourites.
Many just want to get away from the confines of their homes. A recent McKinsey survey revealed traveling to be the second-most-desired activity among respondents.
In the US air travel continues to rise, with hotel reservations and rental-car bookings surging.
As with the US, a significant portion of the population has been vaccinated in many European countries.
People already feel safe enough to travel domestically, and now international travel appears to be coming back too, especially with the introduction of safety measures such as digital health certificates across the EU.
Ruth Franklin, co-founder of Secret Paradise which specialises in sustainable and educational local island tours in the Maldives, said that in the second half of 2021, bookings increased by almost 15% compared to pre- pandemic levels back in 2019.
They are seeing that travellers are staying for longer and that from initial enquiries travellers are taking relatively little time deciding to book and are adding activities, experiences and tours into the mix.
We’ve been working with them to help make this process as easy as possible through online booking solutions and payment links.
This is all very good news and for those in the business of providing experiences it can’t come quickly enough.
That said, ill-prepared companies may find themselves struggling to meet demand, forcing travellers to endure long wait times and restricted capacities.
Tour companies that fail to prepare for the forthcoming return of international travellers risk missing out on a valuable opportunity to recoup losses incurred during the pandemic.
This is the time to redefine value propositions and make offerings distinctive.
Workers may have found other employment in the last year and are reluctant to go back to their former jobs, so there could be staffing issues.
In the UK, more than one in ten workers left the hospitality sector last year. In the United States, there was still a shortfall in April of around two million leisure and hospitality jobs.
Don’t get caught out as the cost of standing by and doing nothing could be higher.
An area you should considering for investment is digital operations. The customer experience covers the entire end-to-end journey, from booking to being there.
Travellers need to adapt to new protocols such as digital health certificates and safety measures.
Strangely, in this ‘hands-free’ and contactless era, they now need more, not less, assistance.
Tour operators which were largely shut down last year have returned with a vengeance – resuming and revamping their experiences with new offerings they prepared during lockdown.
Many have been the result of partnerships. Strategic collaborations will be key to the future success of the tour and activities industry.
Like-minded businesses that operate across similar markets can support each other through shared marketing strategies, social media and operational costs.
A Kayak experience business partnering with another water sports company that attracts the same demographic can work together, cross promote, share shuttle buses, staff and local knowledge.
In fact we already work with other companies in the travel technology space, it is the only way to create standards and connectivity for an industry. The same can be said for tour and activity providers.
The point is that businesses will need to rethink their commercial approach and working together more might just be one of the solutions.
It’s been a long time coming but the signs are indicating that travel is on its way back.
Although this won’t happen at the same time for all countries, revenge travel is a reality, make sure it’s a sweet experience for your next wave of bookings.