BLACKSBURG, Va. – Many of us want a vacation, but what does travel look like after this coronavirus pandemic?
Nancy McGehee, professor and department head of Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism management said the industry is using this time to rethink, plan and prepare for the return of travelers.
McGehee sheds light on the four aspects industry leaders are focusing on to implement better social distancing and a safer travel experience. Some of those changes will take longer than others.
- Changing physical space
- That could be rearranging places to limit lines
- Flattening the tourism curve
- That means spreading out travel seasons so a lot of people wouldn’t be traveling in the same small window. That may look different for each destination
- New hygiene procedures and standards
- McGehee said some places are even looking at what that may mean for elevators
- Exploring how and what technology can help out these new efforts
“There’s the industry, the traveler and there’s the host community. I think the industry is getting ready. It’s now whether or not the traveler feels comfortable and willing to do the things we need to do and the practices we need to engage in to travel.”
McGehee also mentions there were features companies were already using that may become industry-wide like no-touch hotel reservations.
McGehee said it is okay to want to plan a trip for the future, but you have to be smart about it.
- Pack your mask. Airlines, airports, even Amtrack are requiring you to wear one.
- From your plane ticket to your lodging make sure you know the refund or rescheduling policy.
- Get travel insurance and double-check it covers scenarios like this coronavirus pandemic.
- Don’t be afraid to road trip.
McGehee mentions we are in the middle of a spike in RV sales. “Recreation vehicle associations and companies are all telling us that all of a sudden they’re seeing an uptick in people interested and basically ‘I want to have my home on wheels, I want to get out and move so I’m just going to take my own space and put it on wheels.’”
McGehee predicts an increase interest in outdoor opportunities because of what we know about the virus so far. She said industry leaders are watching trends in other countries and experimenting on their own to get better direction on how to make its comeback.
AAA released its predictions on Memorial Day Weekend travel and statistics on future planning. To see our story on that information, click here.
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