In the past year, COVID-19 has changed the travel experience from start to finish: travelers can expect to undergo temperature checks at many stops, and maybe even carry vaccine passports. The travel industry experienced losses as many people chose to stay home instead of taking trips.
International and business travel experienced the sharpest declines, according to analysis by Tourism Economics. International travel spending fell 76%, compared to 34% for domestic travel, and business travel spending fell 70%, while leisure travel spending dropped 27%. While business travel recovery lags behind domestic leisure travel, group and business travel are expected to return slowly in the second half of 2021, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021.
Here are a few trends that we predict will continue as the travel industry increasingly shows signs of recovery in 2021.
Health and safety guidelines for traveling.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published guidelines for traveling safely throughout the pandemic, and it’s unlikely that travel will take place without restrictions any time soon.
Increased cleaning and sanitation
Travelers can now expect to see hand sanitizing stations frequently throughout airplanes, airports, and hotels.
Research from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health showed that routine cabin disinfection and cleaning practices can reduce indirect transmission of the coronavirus on planes. Many airlines thoroughly sanitize every interior surface on a plane before passengers board.
Flexible booking and cancellation policies
With rapidly changing travel and safety guidelines, travelers want the flexibility and ability to adjust their reservations without a fee. Many airlines have offered more flexible cancellation policies and change fees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Travelers may expect this flexibility to continue as they start to make more hotel and flight bookings.
Streamlined, contact-free solutions
The pandemic introduced a massive increase in the use of mobile devices and automated services to place orders, make payments, and to check in at airports and hotels. A survey from BCD Travel showed that 67% of travelers rated contactless payments as the most important regulatory measure to ensure safe travel. As of January 2021, 41% of global transactions were carried out using contactless technology, and 74% of Americans planned to continue using contactless after the pandemic is over, according to the Harris Poll CV-19 Tracker.
TA Connections is here to empower travelers around the globe. TA Connections offers data, analytics, business intelligence, and machine-guided learning insights to meet travelers, airlines and crews’ new priorities.
● Contactless vouchers: TA Connections offers paperless voucher technology, which helps passengers and agents avoid frustrating lines and wait times. Travelers can instantly redeem electronic vouchers from their own device to book hotel rooms and access meal vouchers.
● Distressed passenger solutions: Our Intelligent Passenger Management system provides emergency relief and IROP solutions to distressed passengers with missed connections, delays and flight cancellations.
● Insights, sourcing, control and crew convenience tools: TA Connections’ Intelligent Crew Logistics Management Suite provides airline procurement tools and transparency into contract management, real-time operational and layover requirements, and a self-service mobile app for crews.
● 24/7 global support: TA Connections members receive stability and support of a large and growing enterprise. Our services and expertise expanded through our recent merge, and we continue to give our members access to 24/7 global support, 365 days a year.
TA Connections is committed to helping the industry and our partners come back stronger in 2021. Contact our team to learn more about our full suite of services and technology for traveling teams and crews.