In many ways, 2020 has changed the travel industry forever. From airlines to hotels to ground transportation and beyond, we expect to feel the coronavirus pandemic’s impact for years to come. Now, with 2021 underway, what travel trends can we anticipate from travelers as well as from businesses within the industry?
Emphasis on in-person gatherings
We all appreciate the ways that technology like email and Zoom can keep us connected, but the truth is that nothing replaces the opportunity to get together in person. Both personal and professional relationships benefit so much from simply getting to interact face-to-face. So as the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out and reduces the need for social distancing, we can expect to see a spike in in-person gatherings of all sizes.
Companies are ready to reconnect with their clients and further their partnerships. Families that haven’t been able to celebrate together for holidays or special events will be planning big reunions. Belated bachelor and bachelorette parties will be an excuse to travel with close friends and cut loose. And after so many months of virtual events and Zoom fatigue, we’ll likely see a boom in in-person networking event attendance.
Whether it’s with clients, family, friends, colleagues, or peers, many people will be jumping at the opportunity to meet and connect face-to-face once more.
Destination preferences and restrictions
Thanks to travel restrictions, last year’s wanna-be-vacationers had to find new ways to get away. With borders closed and most of the public still unsure about air travel, the summer of 2020 saw many people returning to a classic form of travel: the road trip.
We certainly expect to see a sharp spike in air travel that correlates with the vaccine rollout. However, we believe the road trip will remain popular as an alternative. People have rediscovered how fun it is to jump in the car and go somewhere without much advanced planning.
While the pandemic is still being contained, people will continue to favor less-crowded destinations. Cabins and spacious resorts will see the fastest resurgence as opposed to tourism in busy urban destinations like New York City, which will resume more slowly.
Finally, it’s worth keeping in mind that no matter how eager people are to travel, they will need to factor in worldwide vaccinations. It’s still unclear if a vaccinated individual could transmit the coronavirus. Therefore, many countries will be hesitant to reopen their borders until they have been able to properly distribute the vaccination.
A new day for the travel industry
If 2020 brought us any good news, it’s this: the travel industry is improving for the consumer.
In the past, travelers had no choice but to accept charges like airline change fees or resort fees. It was expected. But now that these businesses are desperate for patronage, many have dropped their extra fees as an incentive for travelers to book with them.
Can we expect these changes to last? That remains to be seen.
On the one hand, reinstating fees would help businesses in the travel industry recoup more of their losses. On the other hand, if some reinstate fees while their competitors do not, consumers are likely to book with the fee-free businesses. In that case, reinstating the fees could backfire.
Ready to plan a vacation for 2021? Let the experts at Professional Travel, a Direct Travel company, help you plan the perfect getaway with reliable vendors to ensure your safety, comfort, and happiness. Contact our team today!
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