The Future of Post-COVID-19 Travel – Five Major...



  • With travelling facing a major reset during this pandemic period, we share some change in travellers’ preference that we expect post-COVID-19.

    The Future of Post-COVID-19 Travel – Five Major Shifts to Look Out for

    With travelling facing a major reset during this pandemic period, we share some change in travellers’ preference that we expect post-COVID-19.

    From global travel restrictions to thwarted holiday plans and cancelled flights, it has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic jolted the world by drastically changing the face of travel. It appears as no surprise that travellers have kept themselves busy scouring the web for opportunities to travel again in 2021.

    While the outlook for travelling is turning optimistic and the world will be on the way to move once again, travelling will take a very different form from before. As we gaze into our crystal ball, we reveal the five major shifts travellers will be looking out for when planning their first post-pandemic trip this year.

    #1 – Spontaneity is the Key

    Anyone who has planned a trip anytime over the past year will be familiar with the anxiety of uncertainty that comes along with the travel restrictions and entry requirements that can be changed in an instant.

    That is why it is no surprise that a hotel booking platform has predicted that travellers will be inclined to be impulsive when it comes to making travelling arrangements than ever before, following an all-round “year of nothing”.

    According to the survey, 32% of the respondents have expressed their wish to make spontaneous decisions, and 26% of them have said they would not be planning any activities ahead of arrival, so as to relieve themselves of any stress related to the ever-changing outlook in global travelling.

    #2 – Staycation Surge

    With travel restrictions in place over the months to come, passport-free holidays are now becoming the norm. As mentioned earlier, people are continuing to seek breaks to escape the bustle without the hustle.

    This sentiment is reflected in the worldwide spike in hotel reservations by local travellers. According to Bloomberg, hotel occupancies in China during its May Day holiday 2020 have increased by 50% following months which it was as low as 10%.

    In Singapore, several hotels have seen an increase of local guests since the go-ahead from the authorities to open hotels for booking last year. Far East Hospitality, for example, told Channel NewsAsia that the number of room nights from the staycation segment in January and February 2021 has grown by 25 per cent, compared to the same period in 2019.

    If you intend to do a staycation, you are in luck. Hospitality operators are now offering special staycation packages and additional perks, and such promotions are likely to be ongoing for an extended period of time.

    #3 – Close to Nature

    Besides staycations, there is also an increasing number of people taking joy in getting close to nature, as much time has been spent in homes amid lockdowns. With travellers seeking safety amid social distancing, globetrotters have started to think about embracing a stripped-back way of experiencing the world.

    A survey by a management consultant firm revealed that changing trend where Americans are spending more time outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The trend is also reflected in global travelling market. In another survey conducted by an online travel booking platform, it was revealed that more than half of the respondents were keen to immense themselves in alternative destinations to avoid overcrowding.

    Closer to home, Singaporeans have also embraced nature walks, with an increase of visitors to nature spots and healthy sign-up rates for nature walks over the past year.

    #4 – Safety First

    With some countries still battling the pandemic, it is no surprise that travellers will exercise safety when going for trips. 79% of travellers in a traveller survey have indicated that they will take a cautious approach when travelling overseas, and will turn to the travel industry to gear up for the new normal. In addition, more than half of the respondents are willing to accept travelling to destinations with health spot checks upon arrival.

    Just as travellers have accustomed to travelling without liquids on hand-carry luggage in flights, the new normal will also see travellers prioritise and adhere to safety measures such as social distancing, wearing a mask in public and opting to avoid public transport.

    #5 – Technology Comes to the Rescue

    The heightened awareness of safety when travelling in a pandemic also saw operators and travellers alike turning to technology in rebuilding the confidence in travelling, and we expect an accelerated use of tech to adapt to the new normal.

    Travellers surveyed by a travel technology firm have expressed that mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications to inform them about localised outbreaks and changes to government guidelines will help boost their confidence to travel. In addition, travellers would also want tech options that allows them to make last-minute changes or reservations

    With the safety of visitors and staff in mind, many hospitality players worldwide have ramped up capabilities for contactless and mobile check-ins during the pandemic. These include creating dedicated mobile apps to allow customers to check-in and pay for services on their device without the need for interpersonal interactions.