With every disruption comes new opportunities, and the travel industry is offering up some very high-growth possibilities right now.
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It goes without saying that travel has been disrupted severely over the past year, with movement restrictions within countries and internationally, plus new requirements for travel that have made it much more cumbersome than simply packing a bag, buying a flight ticket and getting on board.
Nonetheless, the industry is recovering quickly, according to a variety of metrics, including this paper from McKinsey, which estimates a possible recovery scenario of 85% of 2019 volumes in 2021 and a full recovery by 2023. As with every downturn in an industry, there’s a significant upside now in the travel industry for entrepreneurs willing to make the right moves. Here are some of the biggest trends to keep an eye on.
Digital Nomads are not new per se. Over the past decade or so, as freelancing has become more popular, especially among young people, more and more travelers have been taking trips to places where they can enjoy have a great time on the beach or or other scenic locations while still having access to internet and other facilities to perform their jobs.
Now that an increasing number of mainstream jobs are allowing employees to work from home for extended periods of time, there has been increasing interest in work holidays that allow people to have a vacation-style experience while still being able to do their jobs as usual during work hours. Even Airbnb is looking to cash in on this trend by increasing its marketing focus on long-term stays of a month or more, as reported by TechCrunch.
In the past, airport security was focused on preventing passengers from getting on board planes while in possession of weapons, dangerous items generally or prohibited items like drugs. Now, a large part of that effort has shifted to trying to identify passengers who might pose a health risk to others. Many airports require travellers to present negative Covid-19 test results prior to their departure.
The testing processes are continually evolving, with solutions battling to be the most accurate and quickest. As vaccines are rolled out to more people around the world, the focus will likely shift to simply verifying if passengers have been vaccinated. For now, however, effective testing processes are still highly in demand around the world.
The trend of going green and buying local is becoming more widespread. People prefer staying in a cute bed and breakfast on their way rather than in a typical chain hotel, since this allows a homey feel and more personal service more often. Most people looking for local travel experiences typically use information from travel bloggers, influencers and other local guides who have extensive knowledge of the area. These guides also provide essential information for navigating the complex web of travel regulations, to help tourists avoid running afoul of the law. While the guides have typically earned a significant amount of their revenue as affiliates for large travel businesses, the tide has been changing recently, with companies like Airbnb having ended its affiliate program.
That has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for many affiliates, however, since they can now focus on using platforms like Travelpayouts to establish partnerships with local businesses, i.e. hotels, restaurants etc. that will be willing to share more revenue to bring in more clients.
In a recent survey conducted by Censuswide, more than four in five travellers said technology would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12 months. The kinds of technology travellers were looking for specifically ranged from contactless payments apps to apps that would provide timely and accurate information about outbreaks or changes to the regulations regarding movement in their location.
Clearly, there’s a significant opportunity to provide solutions that enable people to travel in a way that’s safer and more reassuring, limiting physical contact with other travellers and allowing them to stay up to date without needing to communicate orally as frequently as before.