Where is travel headed?

TRAVTALK Digital Conclave concluded with six experts sharing their valuable insights on some of the current travel trends and behaviours.

Shehara Rizly

Change has been a constant factor over the past almost 13 months, with the environment changing every single day. In order to obtain a customer’s confidence it is important to note that the travel industry plays an integral part as it works on an ecosystem where each one plays his/her own part which has an impact on the traveller from the time of making the booking to the time the traveller reaches home. Booking has become much easier and it is important to educate customers. Technology needs to disperse information about what you must do to go to a country. Technology needs to be nimble; it needs to adapt to change, which is not just about the rules and regulations but product delivery too. Technology should be used for passing on relevant information to the customers. Also, a delivery system with digital adaptability and scalability is vital.

Arijit Munshi, General Manager, Tune Protect EMEAI

We are unlearning what we have learnt over the past 20-25 years in the travel industry. Earlier we were only offering and promoting a product or service, but now there are a lot of other things which we need to talk about. The most important thing is that you need to protect yourself and other travellers. I think the governments are taking a stand which is very good, you need to make sure that you are aware of rules and regulations. And, if you are vaccinated, you are welcome to the country and that is exactly the message that is going out to everybody.

Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director EMEA, Wego

Over the past 13 months, we have researched traveller trends as well as travel behaviours of 54 million users. We have found that long vacations by bigger families would take more time to return. Today travellers comprise millennials, couples, and the travel period has shifted from two to three-week holidays to shorter holidays at a single destination rather than multiple destinations. Three to four-day vacations with short travel time as well as outdoor destinations are preferred. The momentum for travel still exists, but trends have changed.

Ramsumesh Menon, Chief Executive Officer, Go Gosaibi Travel, Bahrain

Over the past few months, we have been going through many changes but we have also seen the emergence of a different kind of audience. Never has there been a period where the travel agent has become important in terms of disseminating information, giving right advice etc. While travel agents can use technology to make services seamless and efficient, human touch is important too.

Linda Abdulla, CEO and Founder, Oryx Healthcare Consultancy

COVID-19 is a wake-up call for everyone as it has adversely affected the health and well-being of people across the world. Our resilience as individuals and a society is very vital for survival and we need to realise that it all starts with our health and well-being. So healthy minds, healthy habits, even strong family ties strengthen our fortitude to cope with this pandemic and its repercussions. According to a report by the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is slated to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 per cent by 2022.

Laszlo Puczko, CEO & Co-Founder, Health Tourism Worldwide

When you talk about wellness or well-being you need to look at what is available locally, who we are talking to and how we can adapt to it. Wellness can be relevant to every single occasion. Also, it does suggest that we have more wellness options because every destination, every region, every country, even property can have its very own response to the main challenge and that is a good thing especially from a leisure perspective. We need to think of alternatives for different segments and provide solutions for less affluent markets.

Kathryn Moore, Founder and Managing Director, Spa Connectors

From an operational perspective we certainly need to look at how to implement wellness across all sectors, it’s not just an offering for people with money and I’m seeing so many opportunities in the GCC market, as I’m based in Dubai at the moment. We are seeing opportunities in hotels, in standalone wellness facilities, in individual day packages – there are so many wellness services. So whilst knowing what is required in the industry, executing it and having the funds or the people on the ground understanding what to do is the biggest challenge.

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