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How Will Travel Change After COVID-19?

The Future of Travel: How Will Travel Change After COVID-19?

How will travel change after COVID-19?

Editor’s note: We love to travel, but the safety of all travelers is our number one priority. Centrav recommends following all travel guidelines recommended by health officials and the State Department, and to use this time to plan and book future trips only.

As the travel world starts looking to the future, many are wondering how travel will change after COVID-19? With 1 in 10 people employed in some capacity by the tourism industry, it is a question that millions of people are asking. The effects of COVID-19 on tourism are evolving quickly, and we have yet to know the full extent. But some of these changes have already started to take place, providing a good look at what trends will emerge for travel after COVID-19.

1. Improved travel technology

COVID-19 hit the travel industry with a tsunami of cancellations and exchanges. The number of exchanges and refunds is estimated to be near 600 million within the past two months. 600 million. For many airlines, the cancellation requests that came in over just 8 short weeks were upwards of six times the amount they would normally process in a full year. As a result, airlines, hotels, and other travel suppliers have raced to find ways to automate their processes. From canceling and changing bookings online, to streamlined communications, travel companies are finding creative ways to manage these unprecedented dynamics. When the pandemic has passed, you can bet the new technology solutions will be here to stay.

❓ What does this mean for travel agents?

Faster, better, travel technology helps travel agents serve their customers quickly and efficiently. It’s a win for everyone!

2. More flexible booking rules

Airlines, hotels, resorts, and tour operators are offering lenient change and cancellation rules as a way to help encourage travelers to book their future trips. Many of these flexible rules are being offered for the rest of the year and even into early 2021. Additionally, you might see prices lower than ever while tourism rebuilds momentum. Travel brands across the globe are eager to do what it takes to make travelers feel safe and confident booking for the future. 

❓ What does this mean for travel agents?

Travel agents are a traveler’s best advocate. They want what’s best for their clients. Travelers are starting to realize the value of having an agent who can help them find — not only the lowest price — but the most flexible booking options.

3. Emphasis on cleanliness and safety

Cleanliness and safety will take the center-stage for travel vendors hoping to get business moving again. Hotel housekeeping services will likely follow strict guidelines to keep rooms and common areas clean and sanitized. We may even see breakfast buffets nixed and a shift towards in-room dining. Airlines are also expected to hang on to the rigorous sanitization measures implemented to keep cabin areas safe and clean. Additionally, some airlines may continue to reduce the number of passengers aboard each flight, blocking off middle seats to help passengers maintain social distancing.

❓ What does this mean for travel agents?

Each travel brand will take a different approach with regards to cleanliness standards. You can help your travelers’ peace of mind by doing a little research on their behalf. You can use your connections with vendors to get your clients detailed information they would not be able to find on their own.

4. The blend of work with personal life

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, around 5% of the US workforce worked from home regularly and over 40% did so occasionally. The trend towards working remotely and work-personal life flexibility was already accelerating. But unprecedented times called for an unprecedented response. Brands and businesses that had never even considered telecommuting made it happen within mere days. While many employers are eager to get their offices back to normal, some are realizing flexible options are more feasible (and beneficial) than they imagined. Many expect businesses to adopt new WFH policies permanently. 

❓ What does this mean for travel agents?

The traditional two weeks of vacation time may be a thing of the past for some Americans. With the ability to work from anywhere in the world, you might see a rise in extended family travel. What is extended family travel? Think along the lines of a family renting an apartment and spending a month or two in Paris. A travel agent can meet this need by offering families high-quality, long-term travel insurance, and learning how to help their clients navigate other unique needs of a longer stay abroad.

? Related: Work on the Go: How to Work While Traveling

5. Focus on sustainable, wellness, and responsible travel

Sustainability has been a buzzword in the travel industry for the past few years. Travelers are more concerned about the impact their travels have on local communities, the environment, and themselves. They are choosing to give their business to brands who share their values and this trend will only increase post-COVID-19. It is likely we will continue to see wellness travel and health retreats rising in popularity. The stress and uncertainty of the year may also be an influencing factor for travelers. Travelers will be seeking out any kind of travel which promotes health, wellness, and rest.

❓ What does this mean for travel agents?

Sustainable travel and health-related vacations are bursting with untapped potential for travel agents. Clients seeking this highly-curated type of experience don’t want to leave any detail unattended. If you’re great with details and creating a bespoke experience, this could be a lucrative niche to pursue.


? Read next: What the CARES Act Means for Travel Agents

Shawna Levet

Shawna is passionate about helping travel agents grow their business and expand their knowledge as travel experts. She has been in the travel industry since 2011, helping agents and travelers alike find the best negotiated airfare and travel coverage to meet their needs.

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