The arrival of COVID-19 may have changed the travel industry forever.
Coming off the worst year in tourism history, travelers are left wondering about the future of travel, and what the industry will look like through 2021 and beyond. Guesty, the software platform with over 7 million listings collectively across, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and more, released a new report — based on input from property management companies and hosts, investors, tech providers and members of the hospitality ecosystem overall — on the state of travel and how the hospitality industry is faring one year into the pandemic. And things may just be on the up and up!
While the brief recovery in the summer months of 2020 had fueled hopes of a quick recovery for the tourism sector coming into this year, those hopes had been dashed by the fall/winter spike of the pandemic, with record highs of COVID cases across the country. Thankfully, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Half of the respondents (51.2%) predict 2022 to be the year of complete travel recovery. Though there are a few anticipated concerns that are believed that may delay the recovery of travel. These include longer vaccine distribution times in certain countries and populations, the population’s reduced ability to spend on travel due to economic hits taken during the pandemic and lingering consumer hesitance to travel despite the vaccine.
And with travelers concerned with safety, cleanliness and social distancing, in addition to the rise of remote work, 2020 saw a pivot in travelers staying in hotels and instead shifting to short term (and long-term) vacation rentals. The survey also confirmed this, with an overwhelming majority of respondents (83.2%) determining that the short-term rental industry (comprising vacation rentals, Airbnbs) has won over hotel-goers and that this new user base doesn’t plan on booking traditional hotel stays once COVID-19 is behind us.
The majority of those surveyed also suggested that hotel business models will shift with increasingly incorporate alternative accommodation options (such as short-term rentals) into their business models. Only a small percentage (17%) of those surveyed believe that booking patterns will return to normal and the majority of hotels’ business models will remain the same.
And for those who haven’t ventured into socially distanced travel this year, there are more than a few reasons that will motivate travelers to hit the open roads (or skies) next year. When asked to select two predictions as to what will motivate travel post-pandemic, respondents chose reuniting with friends and family, mass cabin fever caused by the pandemic and a change of scenery as the top options.