How will the tourism industry balance economic viability, safety and sustainability as it makes its way through the recovery?
2020 brought the travel and tourism industry into uncharted territory. The travel industry as a whole has never seen such immense change and challenge. It feels like a broken record to say it - but it has truly been unprecedented. While the industry is resilient and will certainly bounce back, it is likely that it will be years before we witness the full recovery of global travel demand, and when we emerge from this global pandemic our world and our industry will undoubtedly be different. We all have a role to play in supporting and facilitating a safe and sustainable recovery to help economies, but significantly, the travel industry needs to be agile in its approach to satisfy evolving traveller preferences and demand and respond to the rapidly changing environment; many will likely need to adapt models and ways of working to remain successful and, of course, responsible.
People feeling safe and comfortable traveling is certainly going to be a big hurdle to clear. Businesses have a key responsibility in reassuring travellers, especially given that our research shows that 70% of tourists will only book a particular accommodation if it’s clear what health and safety policies it has in place. For instance, as a response to regulation and consumer demand Booking.com has made it easier for properties to display their health and safety measures and created a filter for consumers to narrow to properties that have measures in place. Over 14 million listings have implemented health and safety measures so far, and we expect to see that number continue to grow.
What opportunities are there for the global tourism industry to return with stronger and more resilient business models?
Being agile and responsive when it comes to consumer’s evolving desires is something that many travel companies can look to align with as we move past this pandemic. Given the unpredictability of the pandemic in everyday lives, we now know first-hand the importance of embracing a model that offers and perhaps recommends flexible policies, giving customers peace of mind. At Booking.com, we have long prided ourselves on a flexible and nimble approach to our work - which I’m sure many of the people in the audience today also hold - and that approach allowed us to dive into new facets of innovation and problem solving that really has impressed me and I’m quite proud of.
What are you most looking forward to discussing with fellow senior leaders at the second edition of the Global Boardroom?
I am excited to discuss how we can all play our parts in driving positive change around the world following what has been an incredibly difficult period. The pandemic has impacted us all in many different ways and I think from a business point of view it will be interesting to deliberate over what we have all learnt from this time and how we can all help shape the recovery to build a stronger travel industry post pandemic. I don’t want to give too much away of course, but I am also very much looking forward to discussing some of the future travel trends that we can all expect to see.