We have all done it. On that off chance that we spot a plane high up in the sky, we stop and stare at it. In the heart of lockdown seeing more than one or two planes a day is a rare sighting. Flights grounded or limited. Cruise ships in their ports. Quiet highways and closed borders. How has COVID-19 changed travel?
By: Karen Kritzer & Diane Spiridoulias
It is no secret that consumer buying habits reflect their needs. And nothing could be more obvious or true at this time. If people are not boarding planes for business travel or fancy elaborate vacations, there becomes a lack of travel accessories required. Just how hard hit will the hospitality industry end up being hit? That remains to be determined but statistics show that it will take years to catch up.
“Travel restrictions could significantly damage the tourism industry, which includes transportation, accommodation and food services, travel arrangement and reservation services, and recreation and entertainment. It is estimated that the direct impact of the travel restrictions could result in a GDP loss of $17.6 billion to $23.3 billion and the loss of 306,000 to 406,000 jobs in 2020, between the most optimistic and pessimistic scenarios.” (Source: Stats Canada The Daily: Study – The Economic Impact of Travel Restrictions on the Canadian Economy due to the COVID-19 Pandemic)
The Tourism Industry Association of Canda has prepared a Guide to recovery and within this document the board members cover various ways in which this sector can be supported in ways that will allow it to thrive again.
In this document the harsh reality is that it states the reminder that “tourism was the first hit, the hardest hit, and will be the last to recover.”
In April, AWAY founders shared that they had seen loses of 90% revenue and had furloughed half of their employees. (Retail Dive) But what itself could be the most clever and well thought out strategy is that AWAYalso announced the good with the bad. They released their initiatives to “believe in the transformative power of shared experiences and connections” and shared what that would entail. (https://www.awaytravel.com/ca/en/page/covid19)
The approach that AWAY offers is a glowing example of social responsibility not only to its customer base but to the community around them. Although the consumer base is not there currently, people take notice of corporations well thought out actions when they are authentic and heartfelt, and when the return to the friendly skies happens, that will appear in their memory banks.
Remaining optimistic is essential and “over the long term we will return and come back to business as usual. People have short memories and there will be a pent-up desire to travel.” (National Geographic- How Corona virus is impacting travel E.Becker)
Throughout March The Retail Duo pays tribute to excellence in store design, merchandising and display relating to the travel sector, in hopes of travel resuming soon for both business and pleasure. Travel offers inspiration, connecting for business, and of course the ability to see family and friends.