2021 Outlook: Three Questions on Travel and Hospitality

Ed.’s note: Our agency leaders recently took a beat to ponder their beats. The following is a look back on the year that was in travel and hospitality, and thoughts on what lies ahead for the industry in 2021.

What has this past, unprecedented year taught you as a communications professional most about the travel and hospitality space?

This past year has certainly shaken the travel industry to its core; however, it has also highlighted the essential role communications plays in effectively conveying the travel experience in the absence of hands-on opportunities. It has pushed our collective creativity and freed us from any perceived “rules” in our discipline. Our shifting goals from growing sales and occupancy to increasing enthusiasm and share of voice, have refocused on tactics designed to replicate, reimagine and reinforce the importance of the travel experience at home. These new strategies will continue to shape the way we approach hospitality communications long after the pandemic-related travel challenges fade away.

What do you believe separated the struggling brands from the more resilient brands in travel and hospitality during this past year and why? 

Throughout the pandemic, travel and hospitality brands have taken one of two distinct paths: a reactive, subsistent approach or a proactive approach designed to maintain momentum and reimagine the future. While all brands are certainly employing short-term strategies to stem challenges from the pandemic, savvy and forward-thinking brands are using this time of relative stagnation to rethink their brands and reimagine their futures. As we move out of these industry challenges, the difference will become stark as some brands spend energy regaining lost momentum juxtaposed with brands launching fresh campaigns, programs, and visions for a new normal. 

What will be the biggest communication opportunities for travel and hospitality brands in 2021 and why?

The biggest opportunity for travel brands next year will be harnessing the enthusiasm, pent-up desire, and growing wanderlust to refocus travel from what was once regarded as a “nice to have” to the necessity travel plays in mental health and wellness, education, collaboration and balance. We have all seen and felt a world without travel, and amidst this vacuum is the perfect time to solidify travel as essential.

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