Matt Keezer shares a few thoughts on the industry that he spent over a decade in.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected all aspects of people’s lives. There were tremendous changes ranging from quarantines, social distancing to the inability to leave one’s home city, let alone country.
The good news is that, ever since the pandemic outbreak, domestic and international travel has begun to grow tremendously. The travel industry has introduced numerous updates meant to keep travelers as safe and healthy as possible.
For example, airline companies have updated their HVAC systems to stop circulating possibly infected air throughout the cabin. This greatly reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission while flying.
Matt Keezer, a former travel exec, is optimistic about the future of travel. As it can already be seen, the travel industry has stayed relentless in improving travel safety during COVID-19. And, even though it was a slow climb back up, Matt expects that travel will return to its previous state but with a few changes for the better.
Travelers Are About to Go Big in 2021
After spending the past 12 months cooped up indoors, travelers are likely to go all out for their next trip in 2021. According to a recent Amadeus survey, 55% of travelers said they would travel for 14 days or more, and 60% are now expecting to take only a few trips a year.
What does this mean? Well, Matt Keezer interpreted this data as follows. Those who plan a trip in 2021 will make sure that it counts, no matter the price. If they’re going to fly, they will stay longer and invest more money to ensure a pleasant, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
To make up for the time they lost in 2021, it’s quite likely that travelers will gravitate to ‘big idea’ or ‘bucket list’ trips that can vary from a three-hour road trip to an intercontinental flight. Ranging from hiking through the Grand Canyon to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or just visiting some breathtaking sites locally, this is the year that travelers will make sure to go on a trip they’ve been dreaming of.
Remote Work Results in Nomadic Travel
One of the changes brought by COVID-19 is the remote work. The pandemic proved both to employers and employees that work can be done from anywhere, as long as there is a stable Wi-Fi connection.
Barbados was the first country to take advantage of this opportunity, so they introduced a “digital nomad” visa that allows non-residents of the country to stay there for a year. Shortly after, Anguilla, Bermuda, Dubai, and Georgia followed suit and started offering digital nomad visas.
Thanks to the possibility of remote work, travelers can leave their hometowns for a year and enjoy beautiful sights from various countries across the globe.
Better Health and Safety Standards
Before COVID-19, the quality of travel depended on the quality of services provided in hotels, airports, or even restaurants. Now, this trend is changing, and the key to earning customer trust lies in health, hygiene, and safety. According to the already mentioned Amadeus survey, 40% of tourists favor airlines, airports, and hotels with higher health and safety standards.
To ensure customer satisfaction, numerous travel companies reacted almost immediately. Now, Hilton Hotels offers contactless hotel stays, staff at the Marriott clean with electrostatic sprayers Accor introduced ALLSAFE for elevated cleanliness protocols. Some companies, such as Etihad and Emirates, take their service to the next level and offer to pay for any medical and quarantine expenses if travelers test positive for COVID-19 during their trip.
Technology Inspires Traveler Confidence
Numerous airlines and airports have adopted technological solutions that enhance transparency, clear communication, and seamless payments and boarding. The process is as simple as developing a few apps that will improve customer experience and increase their confidence to travel.
For example, Cathay Pacific offers contactless check-in, biometric gates at boarding, and modified meal service to reduce contact with the crew. On the other hand, United Airlines has introduced the first touchless check-in experience of any airline at London Heathrow Airport.
In addition, technology allowed the development of rapid COVID-19 testing at numerous airports. The rapid tests allow all departing and arriving passengers to take a COVID-19 test and have results in a matter of minutes.
Matt Keezer points out that travel will not be the same as before. But that doesn’t mean it will be worse. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers will ensure that every trip they take ensures memorable experiences. Hotels and transportation are striving to provide safe travel and improve health standards. Technological innovations in the forms of apps are making certain travel procedures, such as check-ins, much more convenient and faster. The travel industry is gradually getting back on its feet, and, this time, it will be better than ever before.