Travel: What will be the new normal?

Travel: What will be the new normal?

With the pandemic that has turned 2020 upside down, will everything return to normal in a few months or a years’ time? Or will we have to adapt to a different kind of normal? There is no doubt that the tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit with hotels and airlines having to shut down temporarily, and in some cases, staff being retrenched or companies closing. As restrictions start to ease, will travel industry require a complete makeover to survive and once again thrive?

 

Business Travel

Business travel hasn’t been possible over the last few months with many airlines halting operations, as well as hotels closing their doors. Business has therefore had to be done either via email or Zoom/Skype calls. Have companies realised that this is an easier way of doing business? Is human interaction always necessary? Companies will certainly cut back on the business travel if it isn’t necessary, thus the market for this form of travel may decline.

Remote work is, at very least, likely to form a key part of our new normal. While start-ups and youthful companies have been taking advantages of its cost saving and efficiency for a few years, mainstream business has now, through necessity, also seen that it can work and offers distinct advantages.

 

Group Travel

Travel in large groups is likely to be severely affected due to the risk of transmitting the virus to other travellers. This is likely to have a sustained effect, as the world collectively tries to stem cross border carrying of Covid.

With smaller groups comes more administration per person. Meaning a wider team of support staff that are wearing many hats on a day-to-day basis will be required for smooth running of group operations that typically rely on larger, one size fits all packages and operations in order to work efficiently and offer value for money.

 

Hotels, Airlines and Tour Operators

Hotels, airlines and tour operators have almost all had to shut their doors over the last few months. Many employees have lost their jobs with companies not having any form of income. Not knowing when the light will appear at the end of the tunnel, many companies are trying to find new ways to attract clients and even outsource their work force. Hotel and airline call centre staff could potentially work from home given that they don’t have to be face to face with the consumer. Small tour operators are looking at employing virtual assistants to do their back office/admin, or even take calls from new/potential clients.

Employing or growing a full-time workforce will be a huge risk for many a business right now, meaning outsourced, dynamic and contract-based teams will become the standard.

 

Virtual Travel Experiences

So, what will the new normal be?

Will there be a virtual assistant sitting in a small village in South Africa, taking calls on behalf of her client in Florida for bookings on a boat charter? That is already happening.

Will luxury lodges be offering virtual safaris to armchair explorers from the comfort of their own homes? Yep, this too is already happening.

Or will we still crave the immersive, cultural and human interactions that force us to get out there and explore again? This too will definitely happen – it is human nature. But when it does, businesses will need to rethink how they run and grow their businesses.

Agility, a scalable workforce, and being able to roll with the punches will be key. At VA Connect we are able to help you do just that by offering a wide array of skills, expertise and experience through our dynamic team of virtual assistants.