Health protocols, sustainability and gender equality, new priorities
The tourism market is experiencing its rebirth and in a new show of resilience, companies have in their hands the possibility of re-founding and reacting to a much more selective consumer
The Covid-19 health crisis has forever changed the world and logically the tourism market, many companies in our industry have felt its effects long before and prepare plans in advance to survive. The damages are considerable and in many cases there are still no certainty in many segments about when key niches such as MICE and Wedding can be reactivated. In this scenario, what is clear is that consumers have given up their intention to travel. But from what many consultancies have studied, priorities have changed and therefore companies have the chance to be reborn adapting to the new reality.
Although health protocols, sustainability and gender equality were growing in the hospitality market as foci of interest to develop in the coming years, today there is no more time for them to be considered priority points to lay the foundations of the present and future. At the same time, emerging niches such as glamping and rural tourism will become part of the business plans.
Focus on youth and singles
According to a study presented by CheapOair, bookings for people ages 18-24 have increased 29% since March, while there has been a 27% decrease in the number of people age 65 and older planning to fly. Interestingly, there has also been an increase in solo travelers, with an 8% increase in people choosing to fly solo compared to total pre-COVID-19 travel data.
Technology, an urgent need
If there is something that no one can ignore anymore, it is that the use of technology behind the scenes is more necessary than ever. Artificial intelligence systems to study reputation, customer preferences, pre-contact and post-sale are impossible today, especially in small and medium-sized companies. This point has not been ignored by solution providers who, feeling a reduction in demand from large companies, today see this demand as a great opportunity to survive.
Unfortunately, most of the countries of the Americas do not have the best economic conditions to assist tourism companies as they should, even so, in recent weeks, initiatives have been known that can at least mitigate the damages and help in part to be able to go through the changes and adjustments necessary to adapt to the present and future of tourism. No one can ignore that tourism is an essential pillar for regional economies, particularly in the most vulnerable destinations in the world. Furthermore, in many parts of the world, protecting biodiversity is highly dependent on the tourism sector, from conservation to the income generated by these efforts.
The opportunity of emerging destinations
If we stop to review the progress of the pandemic in the different countries of the Americas, the continent has entered a delicate stage in some countries and more relieved for others. The United States and Brazil have had the greatest impact, both in terms of number of infections and deaths, so predicting how tourism demand will react there would be very bold.
Peru, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia make up a second group of countries where the pandemic has had a milder but equally strong advance and will surely have to demonstrate how they control the situation in the next three months with the application of the new protocols.
The rest of the countries are perhaps those with the greatest opportunity for the immediate future, especially those in Central America and the Caribbean where Covid-19 has remained at very low levels and even in some cases, has not generated deaths. . Without a doubt, these destinations will be able to offer tourism greater health security until we have the long-awaited vaccine among us.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Trust is the new currency of our" new normal ". And tourism is in an ideal position to be the vehicle to channel it. If people trust governments and the tourism sector to keep them safe from harm, they will actually travel as soon as they can".
"The outlook for the year has shrunk several times since the outbreak and uncertainty continues to dominate. Current scenarios point to possible declines in arrivals from 58% to 78% for the year. These depend on containment speed and duration of travel restrictions and border closures. The following scenarios for 2020 are based on three possible dates for the gradual opening of international borders. "
The truth is that domestic demand is expected to recover faster than international demand. Most experts expect to see signs of recovery for the last quarter of 2020, but mostly in 2021. Based on past crises, leisure travel is expected to recover faster, especially travel for friends and family visiting businesses.
Creativity makes the difference
Within the reopening plans and protocols presented by the different hotel chains, the initiative of RIU Hotels & Resorts has drawn a lot of attention, the Spanish hotel chain has presented RIU Protect, a new service for its clients that provides medical assistance to its guests. including the contagion by Covid-19 during his vacations. It is a product designed with the insurance backing of AXA XL and the advice of Mercer Marsh Benefits. It is ruled out that other hospitality companies will continue in the same line. Undoubtedly, the demanding consumer of the post-Coronavirus era weighs this type of added value like never before.