The spread of coronavirus has disrupted tourism industry around the world. But sooner or later, the economy will eventually reopen, and travelling will be viable again for all.
Here are some predictions for how our travel would change after the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Importance of hygiene and cleanliness
Choosing transportations and accommodations with guaranteed hygiene and cleanliness will become very important for travellers, so expect every company in the travel industry to advertise how clean they are. Established brands will have more advantage since they use industrial-grade cleaning services with appropriate Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and standardised social-distancing policies.
One example is Marriott International which now promotes higher standards of cleanliness. Novel and improved cleaning procedures will be introduced, such as robotic and ultraviolet light cleaning. Besides, there may be a waiting period between guests at accommodations. On carriers, crews and passengers would have to wear face masks at all times, and use hand sanitiser before boarding and coming in.
Health screening at terminals and accommodations
Health screening will continue for passengers and guests at the terminals and accommodations. For example, there might be something like automated thermal-imaging cameras that trigger an alarm when a passenger temperature is higher than 37.5C.
Touchless and digital experiences
Airports and terminals will avoid crowding of spaces with the help of technology to ensure social distancing among passengers. For example, there will be expanded gate spaces, robots loading carry-ons, and touchless check-in via apps. There could also be more virtual travel experiences, such as travelling via video calls with a guide taking you to new places and meeting new people.
More short trips to nearby locations
Domestic travel that does not require flying will be at the leading edge. Driving on privately owned vehicles will be preferable to taking public transportation. Because although the screening during boarding and exiting may look reassuring, it is rare for infected passengers to get detected.
The green zones are also especially vulnerable if those from red zones come in and unknowingly transporting the virus. Thus, trips to nearby locations such as parks and trails with plenty of social spaces are less risky. This is an opportunity to help jump-start the travel industry and allow people to get some fresh air.
Increase in fees and fares
Transportation and accommodation providers will sell less to address social distancing. Hence there will be an increase in transportation fares and hotels fees to cover the loss.
More travel deals
Nonetheless, expect these companies to hold out cheap fares to encourage people to travel. There might be more of “buy now, use later” vouchers, more flexibility in cancellation and refund policies, easier free upgrades, and other perks.
However, these companies may make up for the deals by raising their rates in the future. You might also forget about these deals (gift card, etc.) the longer you hold onto them, and there is also the risk of something happening to these companies.
Many travellers will want to get travel insurance for their travel. But they will be more aware of the terms and conditions of their travel insurance. As had happened, many travellers were infuriated to learn that their travel insurance was worthless during this pandemic. So they are likely to buy their plans from a “menu” rather than pre-bundled packages.
What about you? How would your travel change after the MCO?