Travel has had its George Bailey moment in 2020 as COVID-19 redefines the industry – a reference to the 1946 film classic It’s a Wonderful Life – according to one speaker at WTM Virtual.
Marketeer Josh Collins likened the film, about a man who is shown how he has touched the lives of others and how different life would be for his family and community if he had not been born, to the travel industry’s current realisation.
In a session called Your 2021 Vision, Collins, Experience Architect and Head of Community & Education at Entrada Insights, said:
“The travel industry has gone through its George Bailey moment. It’s a massive opportunity for travel companies to realise what we are actually selling. Destinations have been about places to eat, places to sleep, great things to do. How is that any different to anywhere else? Every place does that.”
He said the focus was now on providing unforgettable memories and experiences and those that could do this would be the first to recover.
The session, chaired by Marcus Murphy, CEO of The Five Percent, shared how businesses can create a bulletproof vision for 2021.
When asked how long it would take for the industry to get back to pre-COVID levels, fellow speaker Ant Stone, Director of Marketing at G Adventures, said:
“We are a couple of years away, in terms of volume.
“The COVID pandemic has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate and not come back as we were. Changes in product. It’s not about going back to where we were at the beginning of 2020. We are realising the potential of where we can be in 2021.”
He added the company is changing its product offering.
For example, its European product, which previously was aimed at non-Europeans, has been tailored to appeal to Europeans as well, in line with demand for travelling closer to home.