This time last year, we posted about travel’s new normal, citing cost, convenience, and compression as the main menaces to watch even in the early days of the pandemic. As the world reopens, these three players are unfortunately still in the game – but we’re here to help you navigate them.
We’re all seeing that travel these days might feel a little less convenient. But the resounding message we’re hearing from our clients – and we’re experiencing ourselves as we visit each destination in this new lens – is that the additional measures of testing and protocols is by no means a dealbreaker. Once your toes are in the sand, any of the hoops you had to jump through to travel internationally are long forgotten.
It also helps to reframe the way we view these protocols. Travel now is all about health-related safety measures, so these additional steps are in place to keep you, your fellow travelers, and the residents of whatever destination you’re traveling to safe. If it helps for comparison’s sake: Think about the adjustments the world had to make after 9/11 to create a safer travel dynamic: suddenly security took a lot longer and we all had to take off our shoes and gross, but now it’s normal. Well, it’s still a little gross that we have to take off our shoes each time, but you know what we mean. When we predicted the convenience factor to change in May of 2020, it was also related to airline routing. However, much to our delight, airlines have ramped up — and continue to ramp up — to a caliber that’s not unlike what we saw in 2019.
In fact, travel is coming back so fast that the pent up demand is increasingly hard to meet. This means the cost of traveling will continue to rise. The misconception that prices are going to be rock bottom is related to thinking that the destinations and hotels and airlines need the demand. Here’s the thing: the demand is there. All they really need is a green light to let travelers in. As soon as that green light is given, travelers are flocking to those destinations. You might see a temporary price reduction when it comes to airfare prices or hotel promotions, but we don’t foresee that lasting long. Our tip here? Don’t wait around for the prices to drop to book that trip. Chances are more likely that the price will increase or the trip will sell out. Not only do companies have to make up for lost revenue and spend more toward new safety measures, but they also have to respond accordingly to supply and demand – and that supply is already on the lower side because of compression.
When the world shut down last year, many trips were not simply canceled – the majority of the trips were actually postponed. Typically to the same time next year…and now we’re in next year. We as an agency went into 2021 with more travelers set to depart than any other year because of the number of trips postponed from 2020. So, if you’re hoping to travel in 2021, plan as soon as possible. This year is experiencing the compression of nearly two years in one, making it harder to book last minute.
Our recommendation? Don’t just plan your 2021 trips now, plan your 2022 trips as well because, when other travelers find out there isn’t availability for their last-minute getaways, they’re going to go ahead and book for 2022. So I see this compression issue rolling over to 2022, although hopefully not as drastic as what we’re seeing in 2021.
Ready to work with an advisor who can help you navigate what it’s like in 2021? Get started with planning your trip at this link!