In the second of a series of articles looking at how leisure travel is expected to recover, our Creative Content Strategist, Kristina Sikorskaja, continues to provide a round-up of thought-provoking industry opinion and insights of our own regarding consumer priorities and business opportunities in the early phases of Travel 2.0.
It is hard to think of a business sphere which hasn’t been affected and won’t be experiencing significant changes. But when it comes to the travel industry, perhaps one of the most surprising shifts will be the re-emergence of the travel agent. Owing to the rapid development of online travel agencies (OTAs), we saw a decrease in demand for human travel agents throughout the last decade, yet as the logistics of travelling are to get more complicated, we are likely to see more people seeking personal assistance.
On the contrary, third-party booking services are likely to suffer. At the start of the outbreak, millions of people struggled to change or cancel trips booked through OTAs as this often involved hours of calls to the service provider, then to the airline, then back to the OTA and on and on. Therefore, we expect that holidaymakers will feel more secure booking directly through the travel provider of their choice so that, in the event of something going wrong again, customers will only have to deal with the company that’s providing the transportation or lodging.
It is hard to imagine a Millennial (and even harder a member of the iGen) to be actively using offline assistants to book their holidays, but security is becoming a crucial factor in the decision-making process.
Which is also why travel insurances are expected to spike. According to InsureMyTrip, the number of travel insurance policies has skyrocketed 200% since January. The company has reported the highest increase in 20 years, signalling that holidaymakers are already rethinking about how they can best protect their travel investments.
Trip protection and travel delay will be the key concerns, but the crisis has also created a demand for more flexibility when it comes to travelling—therefore we expect there will be an increase in ‘cancel for any reason’ packages, be it a pandemic or that you have simply changed your mind.
For more industry insights on how the travel industry is changing and adapting to the global pandemic, read up our other articles in the Rebuilding Travel series: