The coronavirus or covid-19 has affected every industry, although some more than others. Even some unlikely businesses and industries have been hard-hit.
For example, scooter-sharing companies were showing promise around the world to the point that venture capitalists had put billions into them.
Companies like Lime were popping up everywhere, but recently the Lime company announced they were going to be cutting jobs across the U.S. and Europe because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
There’s perhaps no industry quite as heavily impacted right now, however, as travel. The travel industry has been devastated by coronavirus, and many people are wondering what their future travel plans might look like as a result.
We’re a modern, connected world used to hopping on a plane and waking up around the world, so this new normal is something that’s going to take time to adjust to. However, just like everything else, the immediate threat of the coronavirus may pass and people might start traveling again, so what could that look like?
An Individual Focus on Health
Once travelers start to feel comfortable moving around domestically and internationally again, they may be simultaneously more focused on their personal health.
For example, people might do more travel health research into their intended destination to see if there are any current outbreaks happening there.
People with immune system disorders, older travelers or travelers with underlying conditions may take special precautions.
Many airlines are also making guidelines requiring passengers to wear face masks, but that might be something people do in their destinations as well.
While wearing facemasks is fairly common in some Asian countries, it’s not been the norm among Americans or Europeans until now.
There will also have to be more of a consideration of what we might bring to our destinations. For example, could travelers from America inadvertently bring viruses with them when they travel? These are things U.S. travelers might not have given consideration to until recently.
Cruise Lines May Find It Tough to Rebound
While some parts of travel may rebound relatively quickly, the cruise line industry could potentially take longer.
Cruise lines had a serious image problem during the initial days of the coronavirus in the U.S., and it could be tough for them to shake that off, even when people get more comfortable resuming travel.
In the past, there were cruise loyalists who felt like this type of travel gave them the best value and bang for their buck, but now most sailings are already canceled for 2020, and no one’s sure if things will pick back up in 2021 even.
Of course, cruises could rebound, but they’ll need to likely focus quite a bit of their marketing on shifting their public image and showing they take health seriously.
They’ll have to create and then publicize new hygienic standards and sell customers on their ability to keep people safe onboard.
More People Might Rely on Travel Agents
The idea of travel agents had fallen by the wayside in the past decade. It was very uncommon for anyone to use a travel agent to book their plans when they could do it all online and get the same deals an agent could find them.
That might be different now. There is a level of uncertainty, and there is a feeling that booking through a travel agent might mean that you have someone in your corner to help you and advocate for you if you do have to cancel or if things go wrong. It creates an interesting opportunity.
A travel agent might also create a peace of mind for travelers as far as giving them detailed information, including public health information, about their chosen destination. There’s a human interaction element that could be comforting.
Travel companies and especially airlines have always been notoriously unbending when it comes to cancellations. There was a big risk you would take anytime you booked a flight, because more likely than not, you wouldn’t have the chance to change it.
If you were able to change a flight after booking, you’d likely have to pay a hefty fee for doing so.
Now in an effort to lure in wary and uncertain travelers, companies, including airlines, have to be more flexible with their cancellation policies. You might find a great deal and the thing that helps you decide whether or not you’ll take the plunge is the cancellation policy since no one really knows what a few weeks, much less a few months might bring.