It has been a tough 1.5 years. Reaching out for the computer that has not left her side for months, with a work shirt tucked into pajama pants, an average pandemic recluse dreams of many things. According to the latest research, travel is a confident runner-up in that list. Tired of spending the best years of their lives stuck in four walls, a huge share of millennials (and other population groups) is already devising their perfect vacations to make up for all those missed opportunities. If this trend keeps its momentum, “vengeance travel” might as well become the next buzzword. So how can the industry prepare itself for a demand surge?
The first and perhaps most important tip is to try and rebuild the capacity. Once the coronavirus struck, hundreds of thousands of people were laid off or furloughed but, contrary to what was predicted, they did not rush back to their workplaces once the restrictions were lifted. While there may be diverse reasons for such an outcome, one thing is clear: something needs to be done about this if businesses are to stay competitive. It may seem that hiring a large amount of staff back could be troublesome from an economic standpoint. However, history shows that should hotels, travel agencies, airlines, and other industry players fail to do so, the long-lasting repercussions may end up being even more severe.
Secondly, as the world has become more digital than ever, the same switch could be a good idea for the travel sector. The customer’s journey has always been one of the biggest determiners of their final choice and making that journey as painless as possible with the smallest number of hidden issues should be high on the business’s priority list. Especially so in the current circumstances of constantly changing rules and regulations.
Another arguably effective way out of the demand overflow would be a complete revisit of the pre-existent commercial approaches. This is relevant when speaking about the flexible cancelation policies, for example, as well as the traditional functionality of hotel facilities and public spaces. As the customers are navigating an evermore volatile travel world with unpredictable changes in rules, the ability to change their booking with minimal extra charges becomes a top priority detail capable of winning the clients over from the competition. As to the physical space and facilities optimization, the newest health and hygiene protocols might introduce their own changes, on par with the increased demand for privacy that would give potential guests a greater sense of safety.
Finally, getting to know one’s customer is just as good a piece of advice as it used to be during the pre-pandemic times. Only now the hospitality industry should not shy away from the data approach and utilize it to the maximum. Traditionally being available practically only to large and luxury brands, the amount of affordable data analysis solutions on the market is growing rapidly, and savvy brands should and will take advantage of it. Knowing the guests’ preferred behavior patterns could eventually save businesses thousands of dollars in otherwise forgone profits.
Overall, it looks like, despite a severe supply constraint, there are still ways the tourism industry players could stay on top of their game, once vengeance travel is at its prime. The most important thing to remember? The world has changed, and so should your business.