On today’s show we’re talking about the need for travel. It sounds strange to say “Need” when we’re talking about travel.
According to a report just issued last week by hotel analytics firm STR global for the first week of January. Across the nation occupancy was 37.0% (-28.3%) Average daily rate (ADR)was US$87.97 (-27.1%). Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$32.59 (-47.7%). These are crushingly bad numbers. They represent an uplift from the low points in Q2 of last year. But these are far below profitable levels for the industry.
According to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky the changes the Covid pandemic has brought to the travel and lodging industries are permanent shifts, not temporary adjustments.
According to AirBnB, travel is never going back to what it was before the pandemic, He feels that there are several trends that are worth noting.
1. Bye-bye to business travel…as we know it:
Chesky said the shift to remote work and meetings that Covid-19 accelerated is resulting in “a significant permanent decline in business travel, as we know it.”
Now I have a dissenting view on this particular point. People used to travel for all kinds of reasons in business. There’s no doubt that there are many meetings that can be held as effectively online as in person. I’m a huge believer in using technology for these types of meetings. When I’ve traveled on business, it’s been for a primary purpose, and that is to build relationships. I believe relationship building is better done in person. Those in the future who are clear as to why they are traveling will have a competitive advantage. Relationship Building Business Travel is going to be a new superpower for those few who embrace it.
2. Not a “rural” exodus, but an “everywhere” one
Rather than traditional tourism, people sought out getaways with family or friends or temporary work-from-anywhere relocations, he said. And rather than a dichotomy of urban living to rural destinations, he feels that travel demand has been “redistributed” among smaller and mid-sized communities.
3. From “mass travel” to “meaningful travel”:
“Mass travel, mass tourism, which he defines as people going to crowded tourist districts, standing in line, getting their selfie in front of a landmark, in lines with other tourists, will be replaced with more meaningful travel.”
I actually don’t agree with AirBnB on this point. There are still places I want to visit by air. I can’t wait for air travel to be restored. I can’t wait to get back to Europe. I want to go sailing in Sydney Harbour, and visit the Great Barrier Reef. These destinations are not driving distance. That’s why I believe we will see a rapid resurgence of air travel in the second half of 2021.
There is no question that after a year of being isolated from family, people want to travel home and visit relatives. I see this in my own family. For the next year, travel is going to be more about connecting with friends and family than visiting the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower. I agree with him on that point.
Mr. Chesky believes this is a semi-permanent shift.
This is where we disagree. I believe that the first trip will be to visit friends and family. But what about the second trip and the third?
People in Northern climates are addicted to their winter getaway to that beach destination where they can layer on the sun screen and get sand in their toes.
Travel is not just about connecting with people. It’s about regeneration. That means getting out of your home environment for a change of scenery. It’s very hard to have an effective vacation at home when there are dozens of unfinished chores calling for your attention. When you board a flight, take a cruise, you can truly disconnect from your day to day life, if you choose to and get a real recharging of your batteries.