Here are the ten biggest winners in the travel industry caused by COVID-19
#1 – Hotel deals – What is bad news for hotels is good news for travelers. Hotels are desperate for business. Many will be fighting for new business by simply lowering their rates. The best hotel deals will come from giant convention hotels that will not be having big meetings or conventions for the foreseeable future. With fewer people flying, airport hotels will also try to fill beds with great deals. I think limited-service hotels that cater to vacation and auto travel will actually not have to discount as heavily as it appears traveling by car will be the preferred method of vacation this summer. I think there will be some amazing hotel deals on luxury hotels as they will have a lot of margins to leverage into lower prices.
#2 – National Parks – There is an avalanche about to hit the National Parks as it appears that people are trading flying for driving this summer. They are trading Paris for Yellowstone. Many people I talk to today say they are planning a road trip to see the country and many of our National Parks will be the summer vacation destination this year. My only worry is that the National Parks will be overrun with tourists. Even in a normal year, the National Parks are super busy. I could see them limiting access to many parks if the massive wave of tourists comes to reality.
#3 – Motorhomes – Many people are buying and renting motorhomes for their summer vacation this year. Think about it as a safe and secure way to travel with the family (and pets) without the hassle and mess of checking into hotels every night. You can also save a bundle on cooking your own food vs. the high price of eating out. Plus gas prices are cheap so even that 4 miles per gallon gas-guzzling motor home will not break the bank this year. Sorry, I am not a motorhome guy. I tried it once and after spending the night parked in the corner of a Walmart parking lot and freezing from the 30-degree temperature I took an oath to never rent a motorhome again.
#4 – Hassle-free airports – Have you seen any of the pictures on Facebook from people traveling through airports that are ghost towns? With less than 20% of the people traveling now compared to pre-COVID days, airports are like a stroll in the park. Empty airports are fantastic. Except very few restaurants and stores are open so if you arrive early at the airport you will find yourself bored with all the extra time without anything to eat, shop or buy. If you are like me and hate lines this will be like heaven.
#5 – Clean, clean, clean, and clean some more – Travel has always been a dirty process. One of the biggest positives to come from this virus has been the super cleaning that is now taking place in all areas of the travel industry. Your airplanes, hotels, car rentals, bathrooms, airports, seats, lounges, restaurants, and almost everything a traveler touches are all being super cleaned. Some of the things being done are for psychological reasons but I sure like the added elbow grease being put into the travel industry to make sure everything is as clean as possible.
#6 – Elite loyalty club member benefits – The airlines and hotels know that the best way to bring business back is to market to their best travelers. These are the people that make up their elite frequent traveler programs and clubs. The best deals will be offered to their top clients. Expect deals for great prices as well as buying miles for future trips. With some airlines blocking middle seats the airline’s elite members will get the best seats. It will also be easier to get hotel upgrades this year. My only worry for upgrades on airplanes is that if they block 1/3 of the seats on flights that fewer upgradable seats are available as travel comes back stronger.
#7 – Travel to Caribbean Resorts – Get ready for some amazing deals as the resorts in the Caribbean are hurting in direct proportion to the airlines. Fewer flights means fewer travelers which means resorts have a lot of empty rooms and they are putting out signs that say, ”Let’s make a deal”. Unlike destinations in the United States where you can drive, island resorts require a flight which is a limiting factor right now.
#8 – “Work-from-Home” is now fashionable – It seems almost overnight businesses have discovered the power and productivity that comes from working from home. Think of all the time savings for the daily commute to work and multiply that by 250 days a year. Add to that the travel savings of having internal and some external meetings on Zoom and the business world has changed forever. Executive Travel was one of the first companies to offer a virtual workplace over 28 years ago. We are glad to see the world is finally catching up with us.
# 9 – Traveler safety and security is now a top priority – Traveler safety and security has moved to the top of the list as the giant travel freeze caused by COVID-19 altered the travel industry. Cost and ease of travel were always of concern for business travelers. Today keeping travelers safe has taken a huge jump up the priority ladder. Companies are installing methods to know where their travelers are so they can keep them out of harm’s way. They also are designing systems to communicate to travelers in the field so protect them along their journey. Executive Travel is a specialist in implementing “duty of care” systems for businesses that want to protect their travelers. Call us for more information.
#10 – Bitcoin, CryptoCurrency, PayPal, ApplePay – One area that is about to explode is the use of non-traditional forms of payment like Bitcoin, ApplePay, etc. People are now looking at non-touch methods of payment and these “new” ways to pay will finally get consideration from the travel industry.
#11 (Bonus) – Travel Advisors – Travel just got a whole lot more complicated with COVID-19. Now people are looking for coaches (travel advisors) to help them with not only pricing and schedules but also safety alerts, security, face masks, passport processing, city, state, and country entry requirements, etc. Your friendly travel advisor is now the easiest way to make sure your trip goes smoothly. We are amazed at all the new faces we are seeing that say they need professional help when they travel in the future. If you are investing in travel for business or personal travel the best safety net you have is a professional travel advisor. Feel free to call one of our friendly travel advisors today at 402-435-8888.