With the pandemic completely stealing away our freedom of movement, the travel industry is facing one of its biggest challenges ever. But with the world slowly starting to reopen up, experts believe that people can start counting on travel again to create a positive impact in life.
We speak to Hari Ganapathy, Co-Founder PickYourTrail to take us through on how travel is going to look like during and post-Covid19.
“Leisure might start picking up from even July, August. In The US Airbnbs have reported almost pre-COVID levels of bookings. I believe it is going to happen in India as well. A lot of people are frustrated about being shut indoors because of the lockdown.” Says Hari
With time one can observe three levels in which travel will slowly start unraveling, starting with staycations, getaways involving domestic travel to finally international safe-zones.
Step 1: Staycations and boutique hotels
The first level for confidence is through staycations and boutique hotels. “With a bunch of resorts up and running in good deals we are getting a lot of traction from there,” says Hari who believes that short getaways will start as soon as things start easing down a bit, say late July early August. Traveling within city limits to check-in into resorts for a cozy day or two does sound like a perfect way to unwind with very little risk involved.
Step 2: Domestic travel and weekend getaways
From people going 100kms from home, with time flying domestic will become an option. “now you’ll observe people looking for places like Rajasthan, Northeast, places that are hit by the pandemic but at the same time are safe to go.”
Step 3: international safe zones
The Maldives is opened up its borders this July, Srilanka is opened up this August, and Bali this September along with most islands including Fiji, Mauritius will open up post-monsoon. Australia and New Zealand will take till December, LA is already opened, by September Hari, who’s been in the industry for more than six years now, believes most of the tourist hotspots will be up and running. “I predict that all destinations will open by December because New Year’s is a huge Travel event.
“What percentage of travelers might go is a question mark but there will be a demand that is created and by this New Years, we should see a significant rebound in travel,” he says
Safety through sanitation: Ensuring Safety through hygiene and sanitation will be the key to travel. The overall hygiene of the property will become important than ever before to ensure safety.
Travel insurance. Certain countries do not mandate travel insurance, Maldives, Thailand, Bali, etc don’t require one. But now travel insurance is going to be crucial. Because just in case you fall ill on your stay the last thing you want is to be spending on medical expenses.
Rise of budget hotels:
With travel insurance, safety measures, and more, travel is going to become expensive. So budget optimization has to take place and more and more people are going to lean into budget hotels. If they ensure great sanitation, safety, and hygiene, do good branding, they are going to get picked up.
How is consumer behavior for picking travel destinations going to change
The main change is that people are going to refrain from traveling in groups. They are going to go for customised travel packages. The main theme is going to be Nature and leisure with more and more people opting for secular spots that are less crowded. For example, say between a Goa and a Gokarna, it will be safer in Gokarna compared to Goa, because it’s less crowded. And because of this tourism in tire 2 and tire 3 cites will start picking up.
“The travel industry has to adapt and change to function around the pandemic. We can’t give up and people can’t just sit at homes forever and let fear run their lives.” He ends