One of the most interesting things about Human behavioural patterns, is our innate reliance on the opinions of those close to us, and the phenomenon of ‘word of mouth’ to extend our learnings to our friends, family, and acquaintances. An interesting thing about happy customers is that they will share their positive experiences with at least 4-6 people. With the COVID-19 pandemic changing every possible spectrum of our lives, one of the greatest ways in which the Travel Industry can stay ahead of the curve in 2021 is by creating a culture of supreme innovation, and world class hospitality that will draw customers like a moth to a flame.
The world has witnessed several unprecedented changes in 2020 which has had quite an impact on the average traveller’s mindset and behaviour and ushered in a change in preferred destinations and types of travel. Yet, even as many trends change, some key points remain constant for the industry to expand and bounce backdeveloping safe & organized trip ideas, expanding reach, and creating engaging travel experiences to ensure a complete revival for 2021.
This paves the way for many emerging trends that will shape up the coming year for the travel industry. Booking.com’s recent ‘Future of Travel campaign’ lists many top travel trends for Indian travellers’ post COVID19, with many interesting findings, in its collated research from more than 20,000 travellers across 28 countries and territories.
A key insight that will shape the coming year and what it entails for the travel industry, is that around 63% of Indian travellers are more appreciative of travel today and will not take it for granted in the future, which means a substantial increase in travel activity post the COVID Crisis. The figures also state that as many as 49 per cent of travellers say they would want to travel more in the future to make up for travel time lost in 2020, an encouraging sign for the industry to grow and make long lasting changes.
Naturally, a factor that will play a pivotal role in 2021 for the industry is an exemplary emphasis on safety, and the
same survey indicates that around 86 per cent Indian travellers are planning to take more health and safetyrelated precautions when traveling in the future, ushering a new era of safety innovation for the industry, to ensure sanitization and health concerns.
Taking this trend forward, a heavy feature of the industrytoday to re-enhance the confidence of travellers is the concept of travel insurance policies that will extensively focus on COVID-related claims, which will likely witness a surge in the coming year. As it entails a small part of one’s travel budget and can really help defray costs in case of an emergency, it is a factor that is bound to significantly increase the number of travels in 2021 due to the assurance offered and make space for several COVID incentives in the travel sector, right from testing to COVID Care.
Additionally, post-pandemic, the hotel industry has revamped itself to offer greater digitization and more customized offerings, with a stupendous emphasis on sanitization, that will drive the future, and revolutionise the sector.
Several Indian states have also opened unique frameworks to minimize COVID losses and open new worlds of opportunity to flourish in 2021. While Maharashtra was one of the worst hit states, it created several new strategies such as the beach-shack policy to ensure local employment, as well as the agro-tourism policy, which is a win-win for the farmer and the government and states like Kerala also developed a targeted marketing campaign to communicate the safety measures taken by the Government for tourists, to ensure a steady influx in the coming year. Lastly, travel bubbles, ushering mutual symbiotic travel corridors between two countries will also help 2021 bounce back in terms of international travel. A vivid example is the Indian foreign ministry, which recently agreed to a proposal from Nepal to restart flight operations between the two countries in a phased manner to ensure people of the two countries are not inconvenienced due to covid-19 related embargos. As more and more countries are getting into air bubble arrangement with each other, the number of international flights is gradually increasing, creating a host of opportunities for the Tourism Sector in the
The Tourism & Travel industry today is fast evolving to become the best version of itself, and offering a wide range of unique offerings, ranging from unique customized deals, to increased accommodation options, and very good flexibility & cancellation options. While safety travel will indeed be a keyword for 2021, the year will also be long associated with innovation, variety, and boldness for the segment, as it caters to millions of travellers with a universal hunger for a refreshing experience after months of ordeal.
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