After the Government’s road map announcement, the team at KBC circulated a survey to our tour operator partners. We wanted to gauge their sentiments around a prospective restart of transatlantic travel and various supporting activities.
The responses around ‘face-to-face’ work – trade shows, staff training, sales missions – were telling.
There was little to no indication that anyone wants to take part in any kind of ‘in person’ event before June, even if they are able to. But there was a definite rise in the number of respondents wanting to participate in face-to-face meetings and training sessions from July onwards; these activities look to set to be popular through to the end of 2021.
It looks like things will really start to motor in the final quarter. Many companies are actively looking to send staff overseas on hosted fam trips between October and December 2021.
It’s also in this time frame that interest in attending shows grows, be that consumer or trade, domestic or international. But business travel policies and budgets will play a big part within the decision-making process. As much as we are all keen to be reunited, the cost of travel will need to be covered. The volume of business that will help pay for this is not coming yet, and will take considerable time to rebuild.
As confidence grows, we expect our operator partners to become more comfortable with earlier face-to-face engagement – especially if it’s targeted and focused. The rescheduled IPW in Las Vegas in September is very much in line to be a success. But I do wonder about World Travel Market. It’s possible that trade shows of this magnitude have lost their appeal during the pandemic.
We’re not gamblers at KBC, but if we were, for the next 12-18 months at least we’d put our money on tour operators prioritising attendance at smaller more personalised travel shows. Especially those that support their buyers with travel or accommodation costs. We’ll only rebuild our industry if we do so together in a spirit of partnership.
Interested to know more about our trade survey? Please get in touch with Lisa Cooper: firstname.lastname@example.org.