I have asked my senior consulting network associates to provide some content for our blog during this difficult time for our industry. I have known and worked with John Melchior for over 15 years on various projects. John is well respected authority on market trends for both leisure and corporate travel. Here’s his thoughts on the current environment:
My father once taught me that being in a tunnel you never know when the end is coming and then you suddenly you see the light, but you know there is always an end. So, that is partly what we feel at the moment where we are all in our houses. We know it will end but when and how it the big question. Those of us who live and breathe the travel industry know that we are always the first one who get hot and we will be the last ones out of this nightmare.
The question is how the industry will come back, how quickly and how will it have changed? Firstly it is essential that we use this downtime in the past possible way, do all the jobs we always put aside as things we would do when we got time, look at our strategies and revise if necessary, ensure our staff take the training required to get ahead of the game and look at every aspect of the technology we have at hand and see how we could be more efficient.
We have seen many recessions before and every time corporations have said we will change things for good now in terms of travel policies and procurement, and then, looking back, it came back to more or less where we were before. However, although we will come back and come back strong, there might be some changes this time. Besides the initial fear of sitting close to somebody in a plane or being squeezed together waiting for a Ryanair flight, I think one key difference in the global acceptance of video conferencing. It has been around for so many years, has been in general use for along time and still never made an impact on Corporate Travel. Now everybody is using the technology for virtual calls from grandparents to their grandkids, entertainments lessons, religious services, and sadly funerals. In fact, at least in the UK Zooming” has become the new brand generic word for video-conferencing like hoovering is for vacuum-cleaning.
I have a strong feeling that home working, video meetings and even large presentations will increase substantially over the next 12-18 months and airlines, hotels and TMCs will have to adjust their schedules and businesses to this new reality.
Stay safe and healthy and see you on the “other side”. We will be ready for business!