Travel is Surging Back After the Most Disrupted Event

The pandemic was undoubtedly the most disruptive event in the past decade. It halted businesses, closed borders, and created a massive delay in the global supply chain. 

However, things seem to be looking up. With vaccination rates going up, the travel and leisure industry has begun to pick up the pace. 

Those that have survived the onslaught of the pandemic are now enjoying a little bit more traffic and activity. Optimism is observed among people – even other countries are beginning to consider the health crisis as endemic. These are whiffs of normalcy after the whole world was struck by the pandemic two years ago.

As travel and leisure look toward a promising future, global mobility leaders should take a look at the industry in today’s circumstances and find methods on how to leverage this recovery.

Airlines and hotels are seeing near pre-pandemic bookings. U.S. Travel notes that $92 billion was spent on traveling in December 2021. 

Hotels were not doing too bad either. They enjoyed booking rates similar to levels in December 2019 for the first time since the pandemic.

While the USA enjoys better numbers, the international travel and leisure landscape is still experiencing the effects of the pandemic. In 2020, international travel dropped in worrying numbers but was able to recover modestly by 4% in 2021. In business travel, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts a surge in global business travel spending in 2022 and is expecting a full recovery by 2024.

Though numbers seem to put the global mobility landscape in a good position, uncertainty is still well within our midst. Geopolitical instability, compliance issues, inflation rates, and other factors are evolving as COVID-19 continues to exist. There is no exact prediction on how travel will unravel in the coming years, but it’s important for global mobility professionals to keep posted on the latest news on the matter.

Remote work – a driver of travel statistics

The demand for remote work will have an impact on business travel in the next few years. Talent all around the globe has now become accustomed to the work-from-anywhere set-up. They just won’t settle for job positions that require them to work onsite for most of their working days. Perhaps this is why leisure travel has enjoyed better numbers compared to its business counterpart since the rise of digital nomads has gained the ability to work even on vacation.

AirDNA made notice of the shift in rental trends where the peak travel seasons have now become broader. Short-term rentals were found to be shaping seasonality trends in the United States of America.

This is good news. The travel and leisure industry, one of the hardest-hit business sectors, now has the chance to recuperate the massive losses that have incurred during the height of the pandemic. They now don’t have to wait on peak seasons to gain more revenue.

Russia-Ukraine conflict

The Russia and Ukraine conflict is also one of the major events that took place in our lifetime. Russia, being one of the largest exporters of crude oil and natural gas, has affected global travel. 

Businesses that have operations within the two countries have been severely affected by sanctions imposed on Russia. Major establishments, in an attempt to show their support for Ukraine, have withdrawn their operations and refuse to offer their products and services within the perpetrating country.

In addition, commercial carriers from the USA, and those with agreements with Russian carriers, have reportedly been cut. The Federal Aviation Administration’s prohibition to fly over Ukraine, Belarus, and parts of Russia is causing massive costs to divert these areas.

But ever since the world embraced remote work, American travelers seem unfazed by the conflict. A senior travel curator with Origin, a membership-based travel-planning service, has observed a rise in Europe bookings. The airfare app Hopper even found prices on Europe-bound flights from American travelers have increased 16% from $660 to $763 round trip.

Again, it’s important for global mobility decision makers to monitor the developments in Ukraine and Russia despite the optimistic disposition of Europe-bound travel.

Overall, it is hard to make conclusions with the recent events still taking place. However, travel right now is in the spotlight and needs to be given careful attention to leverage its positive disposition.