Post-pandemic travel won’t be the same as it used to be, but it’s definitely coming back.
As people get out of locks and restrictions and want to hit the road again and explore the world in the coming months, travel is expected to become a popular and valued activity.
The E-Commerce Times spoke to several industry experts to find out about new trends in the travel and tourism sectors.
“In the short term, travel has become more complex,” said Christina Pedroni, senior vice president, Liberty Travel, of the E-Commerce Times. “It’s not that easy to book a flight and grab your passport as there are different Covid-19 testing requirements for almost every travel destination.”
With all of the changes in the world over the past year, travelers – or those who help them plan their itineraries – need to do a lot of research before heading out.
“There is a lot to know and understand about travel in the current environment,” explained Pedroni. “The value of a travel agency has never been more apparent as the navigation of entry, testing, quarantine and regulatory requirements is still very fluid.”
Not only leisure traffic will increase. Business travel is already starting to rise as people try to return to face-to-face meetings.
“As Covid slows, significant numbers of people are returning to business travel,” Mike Putman, CEO of Custom Travel Solutions, told the E-Commerce Times. “While Zoom was an exceptional replacement, it doesn’t offer the level of relationship [an in-person] a face-to-face meeting will do. ”
Because of all of the suppressed energy out there as people begin to detach and travel, this increased demand is likely to limit the availability of rooms, cars, flights, and other amenities.
“Of course there is a lot of catching up to do,” said Putman. “Even so, some services are due to capital constraints – insufficient rental cars – and service constraints – restaurants have been unable to reinstate staff, resulting in limited dining space.”
This increased demand will affect availability and prices.
“In the medium term, the demand for travel will be huge, with limited availability of the most popular hotels, resorts and destinations, and as a result, prices will rise with that demand,” said Pedroni.
Travel itself has changed due to the pandemic, and one of the most important changes has been an increased interest in health, wellness and cleanliness.
“First and foremost, health and safety protocols are important to all travelers and have become a must for travel providers rather than a nice-to-have,” explained Pedroni.
“People are willing to pay more for this peace of mind. Travelers are looking for an escape from their own home, and while destination matters, it probably isn’t as important as it was before Covid. It is really the journey, not the destination. ”- the“ travel act ”- be it for relaxation, for a new experience or for an adventure,” she added.
Even as a result of the pandemic, travelers are looking for new types of amenities – including the ability to work remotely while on vacation.
“There is a growing demand for privacy and exclusivity, as well as extended vacations and remote work scenarios,” Juan Vela Ruiz, vice president of Velas Resorts, told the E-Commerce Times.
In response, Velas Resorts released its Home to Grand program. Privacy features include an area for a private beach and another for a private office, as well as personalized courses and exclusive dining experiences.
Travelers have also been concerned about maintaining points status and other perks that may have wore off during the pandemic with lower usage – in part because they hope to be able to use those points as the pandemic wears off.
“Prior to the pandemic, program members were looking for greater convenience and ease of booking travel, more redemption options with reasonable redemption rates, and an overall more personalized experience,” Len Covello, CTO of Engage Peopleage told the E-Commerce-Times.
“All of this remains a top priority, but with the easing of travel restrictions, program members are also looking for ways to maintain their hotel and airline status despite a significant drop in usage – just as many airlines and hotels are lowering their qualification thresholds for certain people Loyalty Levels, “he noted.
Payment for travel – especially in emerging countries – is also affected by the pandemic.
“The travel industry is one of the industries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sue Ann Seet, Asia director at dLocal, the E-Commerce Times. “It is also one of the first to respond to the changes the situation has required. Dlocal has seen an increase in domestic flights versus international flights.
“When it comes to payments in emerging markets, we see an unprecedented step in the digitalization of payments. While this may not come as a surprise in more mature countries, emerging economies are still very cash-based and are still in the midst of their digital transformation. ” The pandemic has accelerated the process, “she observed.
Not only has travel changed, but so has the way of shopping while traveling. For example, more and more people want to take home luxury souvenirs that they actually use – including wine – and are looking for luggage to keep it safe during the trip.
“Tourists want to buy wine and bring it home to enjoy the memories of their travels,” Ron Scharman, CEO of FlyWithWine, told the E-Commerce Times.
“We are in the fourth generation of VinGardeValise wine suitcases as we have added features to improve the product and consumer experience while traveling to ensure that their wines travel safely regardless of the deteriorating baggage handling situation at today’s airports,” he noticed.
After all, travelers are more environmentally conscious than ever and are looking for sustainable alternatives to conventional travel.
“There is a new focus on sustainability in travel, both for travelers and destinations,” explains Pedroni. “There are incredible initiatives across the travel industry showing exactly how we can travel responsibly around the world, and this will become the norm and expectation when the next generation becomes dominant travelers.”