Travel going forward -- with optimism and pragmatism

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Richard Turen
Richard Turen

新沙巴体育I have tried not to sell any travel for the remainder of this year, and I have been largely successful. But next week, I will be urging my clients to enter serious trip planning. Seven months into the pandemic, it's time for what I call the Dream Stage.

Sept. 1 is my designated "It's Time Again" day of celebration. I will, enthusiastically, be encouraging interaction with the other inhabitants of this sphere we occupy.

But a few things have changed in our industry. I find one or two of the trends disturbing. Let's talk about them:

I am tired of hearing about "the new normal" as it affects travel. 

新沙巴体育Yes, there will be careful screening, likely before you can step inside an airport. Yes, plexiglass dividers will appear in cruise ship dining rooms, and buffets will disappear. Yes, United, American and Delta may actually lay off something like 90,000 employees when the terms of their loan agreements with the government after the protection provisions of the Cares Act expire on Oct. 1. Yes, hotels will end room service and reduce restaurant capacity by 50%.

新沙巴体育But I absolutely refuse to refer to this as the new normal. This is the temporary normal.

Don't insult cruise line and airline executives, hotel management and consultants and our entire pharmaceutical industry by assuming that our children will be wearing masks in the Louvre 10 years from now. Do not count out American scientific ingenuity -- not when there are potential profits to be made on a large scale, and especially with governments prepared to buy large shares of any approved new drug or vaccine.

新沙巴体育Despite Ebola, AIDS and SARS, travel did return to whatever passes for normal in our industry. We will survive this, but to do so we must not align ourselves with those who picture travel as something to be undertaken in a hazmat suit going forward.

We simply cannot accept even current conditions as anything remotely resembling normality.

新沙巴体育Marketing travel will change, spearheaded by younger, forward-thinking visionaries who understand that, as Faith Popcorn, one of our leading futurists, says, "advertising is dead."

Travel agents and travel suppliers will come to understand that the idea of telling someone what to buy in a generic sense is really old school. Today's consumer resents advertising on television because it interferes with what they are watching. Repetitive advertising, where the point is driven home incessantly, is one reason why so many households are paying for streaming services.

To reach travel consumers going forward, marketing will be personalized in ways we have only imagined.

新沙巴体育The data is already there: Millions of pieces of information about each and every one of us. Alexa records everything, and that information is sold. Your Samsung TV is collecting what you are watching, and the information is collected and sold. Ads will be more specific, and the travel agent running Stone Age print ads will look out of place and foolish.

新沙巴体育And then there is the entire notion of "selling" travel. Really? Like a used car?

As we pass through the stages of temporary normal and return to largely unfettered access, travel will become less a commodity and more a matter of dream fulfillment, built on a relationship of trust between a travel information provider -- and enabler -- and a guest. Travel is only "sold" by amateurs. 

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