November arrives with fresh air for the industry in the Americas, the vast majority of countries in the region have launched their tourism with at least some restriction but with the common denominator of having approved protocols that provide security for travelers.
With the reopening as a fait accompli, the moment of truth has arrived after many months full of webinars, virtual events and negotiations based more on speculation than on certainties. It is time to measure who has been better positioned and has strengthened the loyalty of their business partners and those who end up falling back even more.
If something has become clear in other regions that have experienced a reopening, it is that demand will not be close to what existed prior to the health crisis. According to UNWTO data, after the gradual reopening of international borders, Europe for example recorded comparatively smaller declines in July and August (-72% and -69%, respectively). The recovery was short-lived, however, as travel restrictions and warnings were reintroduced amid a surge in infections.
Travel demand remains largely subdued due to ongoing uncertainty about the pandemic and low confidence. Based on the latest trends, UNWTO expects an overall drop of close to 70% for all of 2020.
The UNWTO Panel of Experts foresees a rebound in international tourism in 2021, mainly in the third quarter of 2021. However, around 20% of experts suggest that the rebound could occur only in 2022. Travel restrictions are considered the main barrier that stands in the way of the recovery of international tourism, along with the slow containment of viruses and low consumer confidence. The experts also identified as major obstacles to recovery the lack of a coordinated response among countries to ensure harmonized protocols and coordinated restrictions, as well as the deterioration of the economic environment.
With these data on the table it is clear that from now on we will see a smaller cake to be distributed and players who are voracious than ever to patch up their delicate finances.
Agencies and their role, even more current
In the months of parate it has become clearer that the intervention of travel agencies is essential, being careful and correctly informing travelers about sanitary conditions, government regulations, precautions in force in each destination and the rules to do again. Bookings.
The Amadeus study series “Perspectives for the New World of Travel” highlights that the new travel agent is actually a kind of “personal travel assistant”, linking technology and knowledge so that your client can experience the desired experience to the maximum. And if unforeseen things happen – and we know they do sometimes – the “personal assistant” will be at your side to solve problems. Finding and issuing a ticket is no longer the only task of these professionals. they already function as travel “personal trainers”.
In order to change the paradigm of the relationship between travelers and agencies once and for all, the latter need to know the ways of good marketing and bet on technological tools for contacting their clients. Applications, direct communication channels through courier services and point-to-point monitoring of the client’s journey can be used to bring travelers closer to their agencies throughout the entire travel experience. And, of course, take advantage of this permanent connectivity to sell additional services before, during and after the trip.
The traveler wants that and, to the correct extent, does not see that closeness as exaggerated. You will see these initiatives as a relationship of exchange, proximity and care with the client.
In fact, the most important asset for a traveler today is the security of having support in case of something unforeseen. There are no indications that this trend could weaken in the short term. Therefore, it is time for agencies to be loyal to their clients as well. The crisis also creates opportunities, it would be a sin to miss them.