â€˜Revenge Travelâ€™ Coming Fast: Are You Ready to Get Away?
May 14, 2021
Savvy business leaders can get ahead of the crowd ~ or let employees carry the brand ~ by planning now
The signs are there. Most everyone knows travel, whether for business or pleasure, is picking up after a year of pandemic emergency doldrums. Those involved with the industry or resorts are already aware, but hospitality and travel fans alike are predicting a rather swift return to pre-pandemic times.
Not only will people be getting onto airplanes more than they did the previous 12 months, how they travel is expected to change. Consider the following travel news items, published just the past week:
- IHG Hotels & Resorts, the corporation that owns Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels among many others, reported that earnings were expectedly down the first quarter of this year, the tail end showed much promise. There was a "notable pick-up in demand in March particularly for the U.S. and China, which continued into April," CEO Keith Barr stated.
- Uber also reported a noticeable increase in March, continuing the next month. "The mobility [business] recovery started to pick up pace in March and improved further in April," Uber’s Technologies CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reported for the ride-hail company. "With strong vaccination rates in several key markets, including the U.S., we're optimistic that this trend should accelerate going forward." A lot of travelers nowadays depend on shared rides to save money or quickly get around new places.
- “Travelers across the U.S. are finally ready to get back out there … and they’re seeking the ultimate revenge for time lost,” reported PureWow.com, a digital lifestyle brand focused on beauty, food, wellness, and family. It’s extensive report on anticipated travel trends for summer 2021 covers all indications that many businesspersons and individuals alike plan to get away soon.
Those are but 3 indicators of a travel boom approaching. Are you ready? How about your business?
‘Revenge Travel’ or Just Mental Health Timeouts?
It’s an understatement to say most of us need a real break, from work, or even just from everyday life. All the uncertainties, changes in life routines, working from home, etc., the past year or so have burned out a great many.
That some are calling it “revenge travel” says much about how most everyone has interest in a change of scenery, even if temporary.
This applies to everyone, from the business executive or owner, to employees, contractors, and even your clients and customers. It may not be about getting revenge, per se, but it at least involves getting some mental health time off.
Recharging and rejuvenating our minds and bodies is important year-round, whether there is a pandemic emergency or not. Especially right now, after most of us have not been terribly active for months, it’s prime time to get out and about.
Add in the upcoming warm months, with school out (whether kids finished up in class or on Zoom, still applies), and the recipe is robust for a very busy summer at the airports.
COVID Regulations May Ease, But Not Our Minds
It’s been so long that we went on anything more than a road trip that many of us may have forgotten what’s all involved. All the flight and housing arrangements, maybe renting cars or making reservations at attractions, plus all the packing.
Now, add to that pandemic rules ~ whether or not government restrictions will still apply in the weeks and months ahead ~ and the next trip involving flying could be an adventure.
Take masks, for instance. Who knows what the mask regulations will be next month? Or even next week? And much will depend on the state, or even nation, you plan on traveling to.
Some locales are strict about social distancing and hand-washing, others not so much. It’s almost impossible for someone to feel fully informed about what to expect when landing.
For instance in Hawaii, the state recently added a COVID-19 test upon arrival ~ already on top of a test from departure locales within 72 hours of takeoff. The state also wants to give incentives for those vaccinated, but to date haven’t quite figured out how to do this.
With the hesitancy of some Americans to get vaccinated, plus reports that vaccination cards are being forged by the thousands, it will be interesting to see how states try to implement the so-called vaccine passport.
Regardless, in the coming months expect a lot of travelers to wear face masks, whether they are required to or not. What does this mean for business leaders?
In a word, opportunity.
When Leisure and Business Can Mix
Few executives or business leaders leave company matters completely behind when they vacation. Most keep in contact at least a little, and sneak peeks at online news reports when the significant other is not aware.
Why not add a touch of marketing? Either yourself, or your employees out on company time for business travel, can serve as brand ambassadors along the way. It doesn’t have to be hardcore, sales-driven marketing, but efforts for research, branding, or maybe even soft-sells if promising situations surface.
Think now about what a business leader could do if out on corporate travel:
- Have branded masks available. This probably should have been arranged already, to give out as many as possible to employees and customers alike, but if you or your representatives are traveling on business, wearing well-designed masks can serve as a conversation-starter.
- Sending a group of employees on the road, or overseas? Discuss with them a team approach ~ complete with gear that could include team shirts, ball caps, or both. (And don't overlook helping them with a PPE travel kit).
- Bring with you leave-behind items, like travel coffee containers, or a clearly American trinket, in case you run into someone with keen interest in what you’re doing.
Don’t Forget Market Research
Keeping a marketing eye when traveling doesn’t have to involve branding or sales. Anywhere you visit, whether domestically or internationally, presents information you could use in your own business operations. Marketing research while traveling
could prove very valuable down the road.
For instance, no matter where you go, real estate sales are happening somewhere. If you’re involved in that industry, or one that depends on it, note the property prices, and try to figure out the conditions that make them so.
Think of it as an opportunity for supplementary education. All over you will see signs of marketing ~ often exactly that, signs. Along the streets, on roads, sides of buildings, billboards, wherever. Note the messages on them, and maybe even the location and style of the signs themselves.
As you are going through communities, try to think which town or neighborhood most resembles your company’s avatar, or customer profiles. If you find one, pay attention to how businesses there are trying to capture their attention.
Back in the hotel room, you can get online and research some of those companies, to see how they supplement their advertising on the web.
All of it can be valuable ~ and doesn’t necessarily have to take away from your trip!
Shhh: What Travel Industry Experts Already See
Take a close look at travel industry trends, and you can already see what booking agents and others in that industry are seeing. That is,
- Travelers are going bigger; and
- Longer trips are preferred over long weekends.
As stated above, people have been waiting a long time to travel again. Some have been fortunate enough to keep working, and thus keep saving as there wasn’t much big to do to spend money on. Think about all the canceled concerts and sporting events.
Travel industry gurus are seeing people pay more, for longer stays. They are skipping the extended weekend of taking Friday and/or Monday off, and ordering stays of a full week or more.
And those that do are trending toward ordering more luxury, exotic, or isolated lodgings. There should be a lot of money flowing around the globe by June 21 ~ when summer officially begins.
Remember Mr. Barr noted above, the CEO of IHG, the corporation that owns and runs hotels? In the same news release he stated, "While the risk volatility remains for the rest of the year, there is clear evidence from forward bookings data of further improvement as we look to the months ahead."
Final Words on Travel Summer 2021
There are many indications that travel into and through summer 2021 will be very robust. COVID-19 vaccination rollouts are chipping down the virus infection numbers, opening up cities, states and even nations worldwide.
Add to that the longing to not only get out of the house, but out of the now all-to-familiar scenery at home, and it would not be surprising if more Americans than ever set up some travel plans in the months ahead. Then sprinkle in warmer weather and sunny skies, and the sky’s the limit in terms of how many people will be leaving home.
Business owners should know this, and perhaps think right now about how they and their company could benefit from it all. Maybe it’s marketing while traveling, or doing marketing research in other states or nations. Or maybe it’s just for your employees to get true mental health time out. Any or all of these can only help a business improve.