How the COVID-19 pandemic is driving innovation within the travel industry… and what does it mean for travelers
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world as we used to know it, and severely disrupted the travel industry in particular. Countries in lockdown, stranded passengers away from home, closed airports and – most important of all – an unimaginable death toll across the world.
On top of this, a countless number of passengers were affected by flight cancellations across the world, and in many cases, a total loss of their money.
However, there’s another side of the story. As with all crisis throughout the History, this pandemic is driving innovation, and that might translate into good news.
In this post, we’ll break down all the innovations that will drive the future of the industry. Let’s take a look.
As we previously have said, people are (still) traumatized by the cancellation madness that took place pretty much throughout the world. People were affected not only by the trouble of getting in touch in airlines – some reported several hours on hold, only to be hung up – but also by all the money lost on non-refundable tickets.
In the near future, we think travelers will prefer flexible tickets. Flexibility will be the new norm across the travel industry, and with regards to airlines in particular. At Travel Consulting Hub, we think this is a decisive factor to make people travel again. If travelers know their ticket is fully refundable (especially online), confidence will be back sooner, rather than later. Will this increase the price of airfares? Perhaps, but – except on very specific cases – we expect most leisure travelers will prefer flexibility (over some minor saving) for the foreseeable future until a vaccine is widely available.
The second aspect is safety. It is key to the industry that new safety standards are in place, especially for hotels and airlines. Travelers need to know it’s safe to fly, and it’s safe to stay at a hotel/lodge/AirBnB. This is actually good news, as new (and much improved) hygiene protocols are being implemented across all providers. If the minimum standards are in place – and if it’s widely perceivable by travelers – it is one big boost to bring confidence back.
In fact, this is key to all stakeholders, as we need to ensure not only the health and safety of travelers, but also from airline and lodging staff. The new safety standards will surely bring confidence and peace of mind when considering going abroad.
Also related to this, this pandemic has shown many, many images of deserted, unpolluted cities, and how we need to rethink the way to live (and travel). Green travel and sustainability will also have a major boost, as we all agree that we need to take care of the planet. Travel providers will surely provider wider choices in terms of sustainable travel, and that means new travel products, new destinations, and an overall new way to travel. It won’t be a niche product anymore, it will be a mainstream feature across the industry.
Finally, this pandemic will shift the industry in terms of choice for travelers.
What does it mean?
Travelers need more choice to decide, and it will become paramount to provide such information in order to succeed as a provider.
People will want to know what kind of plane they’ll be flying, what type of fare they’re buying, what kind of room they’ll be staying, how their journey will be, the support they’re having in case an emergency comes up.
For one, this mean a new opportunity for travel providers to offer new and differentiated data-driven products, but also for travelers, as additional (and more transparent) information must be given away. Clarity and consistency in the way travelers perceive this will be the key, but in the end, people will want additional support before, during and after the trip.
A new innovation will certainly be the deployment of more contactless services for travelers. We are used to think only about “online check-in”, but travelers will demand new ways to connect, to check-in, to get support, and to minimize risk.
If you’re planning a trip in the future (could be a year from now!), you’ll probably expect new features as the ones we’ve just mentioned to be available, and they will, for sure.
This pandemic has changed the world and the travel industry forever. But this doesn’t mean that is changing for worse. At Travel Consulting Hub, we believe new opportunities will arise for providers, and innovation will eventually benefit travelers. It is important travelers feel safe, have more choices and get closer support, with additional forms to communicate.
On our side, we believe that the need for customized – and personalized – travel planning services will increase, as the services we provide are not only tailored, but the user-experience is the highlight of what we do, and the support we provide is part of our service.
At Travel Consulting Hub you have more choices, you have increased support, and you can feel safe to travel again.
Want to give us a try? Book your upcoming trip with us today here!
And how do you think travel will be like in the near future? Share your thoughts and ideas!