As movement around the world grows more and more restricted, it’s hard to imagine what travel will look like when it eventually ramps back up.
The staggering global scale of the coronavirus pandemic makes it especially devastating, but the travel industry has rebounded from past crises and experts believe it will bounce back again.
People haven’t changed in that they still want to go places, but they’re going to necessarily be a lot more cautious about what they do.
In the past, events such as 9/11, ash cloud, and the Gulf War have seen a flattening out of business travel but eventually, the upward curve begins to gain momentum.
Here’s why I think it will recover again:
- Whilst video calls are great something changes when you meet in real life. There is more ease, a better sense of who the other person is, shared jokes — and a greater chance of winning more business.
- While companies grumble about the expense of stands at trade shows, they are an effective way of meeting crowds of potential customers. For smaller companies especially, trade shows save having to make dozens of separate trips.
- Bosses will return to travelling. If you run a multinational company, or even a small enterprise in more than one country, you need a sense of what’s happening around your business. Making acquisitions of companies you haven’t walked around and whose products you have never picked up leads to bad mistakes. And if the top people travel, those lower down do too, although often in less comfort.
- We are a restless species, always curious to see what’s around the corner. For all the grumbling business travellers do, there is still that thrill of setting off for a favourite city or for somewhere new. The business travellers will be back.