Hypotheses about the future of travel in the post pandemic world

What’s going to change in how we travel?

SAFETY as a must.

Passengers will expect new, efficient and innovative safety measures incorporated as an integral part of any travel services. Unlike after 9/11, this time it is not about security restrictions, but about a possibility to keep distance and keep us safe from infection. But declarations from service providers might not be sufficient. Passengers will expect to see actual physical proof of the safety measures.

FLEXIBILITY is likely to be expected.

Worries about financial stability and possible future travel restrictions, such as lockdowns or border closures will increase demand for flexible booking options. But real flexibility means that the service provider is willing to return the money, not to merely change the date — those prepaid holidays in the Maldives might have a bitter taste when the customer has become unemployed in the meanwhile.

The SUSTAINABLE option might win.

Environmental data gathered during the lockdown and a forced return to minimalistic consumption might make customers more aware of the direct environmental impact of their travel decisions. Will people want to pay much more for sustainable options? Many probably not, due to tighter budgets, but some will. And at a minimum, more customers than earlier will pay sufficient attention for sustainability to become a stronger source of competitive advantage at a comparable price.

STAYCATIONS as new vacations.

Domestic travel might be the first choice for the nearest future. This could result in the rising popularity of camper business. People might also want to buy and invest in their own summer houses while indulging slightly more on local experiences in their home towns — moving to a nice hotel in your hometown for a few days of spa might become less awkward.

NATURE rather than sightseeing.

74% of the European population lives in an urban area. Due to oppressive lockdowns in urban areas, people might long to rediscover the benefits of interacting with nature. They might also choose countryside vacation over city touring, big hotels and cruises, since in the countryside the likelihood of keeping a social distance or of simply avoiding crowds will be higher. For similar reasons those who do not live in big cities, might prefer to avoid them.

BUSINESS will be an ignition source for travel and transportation.

Air travel will most likely be initiated by the urgency to take care of business affairs. Tourists will join in later, starting with short-haul flights. Intercontinental tourism might need more time to get back on track.

PRICE DROP only at the beginning.

Due to the void left by tourists some travel services providers have dropped prices already. Further price cuts are expected to set the whole business in motion. However, in a medium-term, prices will regain pre-pandemic levels and might even surpass them due to capacity cuts and sustained demand from the least price sensitive business travellers.

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