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COMMENT BEYOND20


Thefutureof travel is here


ADAPTABILITY, FLEXIBILITY AND ACCESS WILL DECIDE THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL AND TOURISM


Given all of this, we firmly believe that the


future of tourism and travel depends on three main things: adaptability, flexibility and pro- viding access versus ownership.


Adaptability I believe the impact of the crisis will be deeper and broader than many expect, even today. I also believe that, with regards to hotels,


RAFAEL MUSERI


sis, although more slowly. To use a high-level example: if we had believed, pre-Covid, that 75% of theworld’sworkforcewould beworking remotely by 2030, post-Covid, we believe that same threshold will be crossed in 2025. In this example, people have been forced to use new digital technologies in their day-to-day and, in doing so, have realised that they can be just as, if notmore productive than in an office setting. Growth-focused companies have reduced


T


operational expenses and pivoted towards cash conservation because they have learned that runway is the most crucial thing in their busi- ness. Overall, people and companies both have learned to live with less. We know where the hospitality world is


going; we know that remote work will be the future ofwork.Weknowthat people will choose healthier lifestyles and seek simple and authen- tic experiences rather than material ones. Most of all, we know more than ever that social con- nections are the most valuable experiences that any hospitality company can deliver.


38


he Covid-19 crisis has catalysed and amplified certain trends and behaviours that were already growing before the cri-


some brands will remain relevant, butmany will disappear unless they can adapt. Adaptability is the ability to adjust to ever-changing conditions. On the supply side, we have access to more dis- tressedhotels at better pricesthanever before.On the demand side, people want healthier, greener and more ‘remote’ lifestyles. There is also a huge opportunity in the massive influx of remote workers entering the market. People who were previously tied to desks in city-based office build- ings can nowtake their laptops and work from a beach in Portugal, a mountain in Costa Rica or a city oftheir choosing. Thisremoteworkermarket has ballooned to a potential 44 billion new over- night stays per year and it cannot be ignored. The industry also needs to learn to cater


more to domestic travellers. International travel will take some time to recover. As a result of the growth in cheap interna-


tional air travel over the last few decades, many hotel brands built portfolios focused on prime international tourist locations, with hotels built for international, not domestic customers. Increasingly, withfleets of jets groundedand


airlinesgoingout ofbusiness, brandswithmixed secondaryandremotelocations will performbet- ter as people look for escapism close to home.


Flexibility Many successfulcompanies are builtonthe idea of giving customers flexibility, and only now is this ethos coming to hospitality and tourism. Since the onset of the crisis, Selina has


learned that if you don’t give the customer easy choices, like simple cancellation, they will — quite rightly—hesitate to purchase a product. People want, and should have, the security


not to lose money. They want to knowthe brand has their back. It is the responsibility of all hospi- tality brands to provide that security. This is easier said than done; for companies


to become truly flexible, they need to createnew policies. They need to adapt.


www.fDiIntelligence.com December 2020/January 2021


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