If we said that 2020 was a year of transformation and introspection, we would be understating the case. Travelers found their alternatives constrained as a result of the COVID shutdowns, and their viewpoint has been altered as a result. People are more cautious when it comes to traveling, yet they still want to go. After months of confinement, they’re ready to depart, but only under certain conditions.
According to a poll conducted by the Travel Leaders Group and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) of 3,000 tourists, over 70% of those surveyed had initially intended to holiday in 2021. According to Euronews, people are eager to travel. The capacity to travel, on the other hand, is still up in the air and depends on a variety of criteria such as the destination and origin, citizenship, and vaccination status, among others.
Travelers are looking to the travel industry for advice now more than ever. Where should they go? What should they do? When they arrive, will they be required to quarantine themselves? Is the existing state of affairs secure? Therefore, the travel industry has welcomed new technologies and sought ways to convince tourists that they would be safe if they chose to go on a vacation adventure.
Several travel firms have found themselves promoting cleaning standards, removing change costs, and informing tourists of new restrictions as a result of the epidemic.
For example, airlines such as United, Iberia, and JetBlue are experimenting with different cleaning protocols that include touchless technology at baggage check-in as well as electrostatic pistols that shoot a disinfecting powder into the cabin to clean everything, including the headrests and armrests, before implementing a standard protocol.
As part of their efforts to attract travelers, airlines have also removed change costs and developed innovative technological solutions to keep them informed about border rules, such as this interactive map from Delta.
The subject of reassurance will be a recurring theme in tourism in 2021. Reassurance about where you may travel, that cancellation procedures are reasonable, and that you will be safe wherever you choose to go.
When it comes to travel in the future, will a vaccine make a difference?
A worldwide view indicates that vaccines are in full force. Unfortunately, however, each country vaccinates its population at a different pace, and there is still no universally acknowledged means of verifying and confirming one’s vaccination status among the general public.
There has been ongoing discussion of a digital passport, such as Europe’s Digital Green Pass, but until an international agreement is reached, visitors will be exposed to a variety of different ways.
Top Travel Trends for the Year 2021
Travel continues to develop and adapt. Some of the developing travel trends for 2021 are reflective of the changing reality of the modern-day. For example, remote employment makes it feasible for employees to travel and spend more time in a certain location. They may choose to stay in a quiet hotel rather than a crowded one, allowing them to combine work and travel.
Another trend, wellness travel, is not necessarily new, but it will continue to be at the forefront of travel for quite some time to come. As expected, individuals want to feel better when they come home after their vacation.
The travel landscape in 2021 is shaping up differently depending on your age group. According to the SAP Concur survey, 38 percent of millennials want to go to a foreign country for the first time in 2021 to check something off their bucket list. People over the age of 55 who travel are more interested in sticking near to home.
The following are some broad travel themes:
The need of emphasising cleanliness standards, social distance, and maintaining up to speed on entrance limitations and border rules will continue to be important. Passports for digital health and contactless technology will be beneficial.
To make it easier for customers to buy airline tickets with greater flexibility, Delta, American, and many other airlines have all abolished change fees in order to make the process more convenient. In the event that a planned destination becomes popular, individuals will most likely prefer to postpone their trip or pick another place.
It is possible for vacation locations to emphasize familiarity in their marketing, whether it is because people are returning to a place they have been previously or because they have received a recommendation from family and friends. One method is to make tourists informed of the health and safety precautions that have been put in place.
In addition, the sky and oceans have become cleaner, and wildlife has returned to regions where it had previously been extinct. No question, the lockdown has had a positive impact on environmental conditions. According to a PhocusWire story published in November 2020, “the pandemic has effectively put a halt to emissions, which are projected to be 8 percent lower in 2020 than they were in 2019.”
The following travel trends for 2021 are very prevalent in the preferences of business travelers, and the pandemic has only expedited them:
1. Take some time to relax and unwind.
The combination of work and pleasure travel has remained a popular travel trend. While leisure travelers are taking a break, they should be asking themselves probing questions regarding their future travel plans, such as:
What is it that I wish to do?
What exactly am I looking forward to?
What exactly do I want to learn?
More and more individuals prefer to travel at a slower pace and get to know the people and places they visit when they do travel. Part of the reason for this is the availability of remote jobs and education. By traveling to a new location and learning about the culture, it is much simpler to plan a longer vacation and balance job and school life. Furthermore, it is attractive to relocate to a brighter, warmer environment where COVID infections are less prevalent.
TripIt data, according to a Phocuswire article, reveals that consumers are scheduling lengthier vacations and frequently opting for a short-term rental where they can feel at ease. Instead of staying in a bustling hotel, short-term rentals such as those arranged via sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo allow you to keep a closer eye on your surroundings and the people in them. Additionally, they provide you with the opportunity to live more like a native.
In the event of a difficult travel issue, business travelers prefer to have a human backup on hand. When it comes to the initial booking, though, they are more than likely to do it themselves. A recent study by Business Travel Trends found that 63 percent of passengers prefer to book their own travel arrangements. This is most likely indicative of a broader trend, given that millennials now account for approximately half of the workforce.
This also aligns with the need for more adaptable business travel rules in the workplace. Business travelers have been defying rules and regulations for years, opting instead to do what they think is best for them. This is an opportunity to examine such policies and bring them into compliance with current legislation.
3. Wireless/Contactless Tech
Another travel trend to look out for in 2021: contactless technology, which is here to remain. The use of keyless entry and digital menus has found a home in the travel ecology since that everyone is concerned about germs and handwashing. It is only because of the epidemic that these innovations are being adopted more widely across the tourism sector.
4. Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Assistants
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the use of data to make predictions about the future based on previous behavior. It is for this reason that firms such as Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix are able to provide you with tailored entertainment recommendations.
It may also propose acceptable entertainment alternatives in places, as well as make other customized recommendations. Additionally, virtual assistants such as Siri can offer updates on one’s schedule.
5. On-Demand Testing is another option.
Rapid COVID testing (results in 15 minutes) may be necessary in a variety of settings, from at-home kits to on-site testing at hotels and airports, in order to reduce both viral and quarantine concerns.
6. Up-to-date information on governmental restrictions
Knowing border laws and travel limitations is one of the most difficult aspects of today’s travel experience. Because of the epidemic, nations are opening, and closing borders, and quarantine regulations differ from one country to another, it is important to have a tool that keeps everyone up to date. Examples include this COVID-19 Entry Limitations solution, which is used by Iberia (among other airlines) to provide travelers with precise information on entry restrictions in any location.
What to expect in the second half of 2021 is outlined below.
While looking into the future for travel in the latter half of 2021, we can see that people will be cautious, as we have seen in the past. Of course, the pace at which vaccines are introduced will have a significant impact. Here is a link to an interactive map that displays the vaccination rates in each individual country.
One thing is clear now that billions of doses have been provided throughout the world, and the number of vaccines continues to rise: the tourism industry will return. Those that maintain contact with consumers and reassure them of their safety today will enjoy the benefits when those customers decide to travel again in the future. In a variety of ways, the future of travel will involve reassurance. Travelers will be more mindful of health precautions as a result of the epidemic, much as they were after September 11th.
What other information would you like to know about technology to support your travelers?