The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdowns, quarantines and other travel barricades have devastated the travel industry. Yet leisure travel is starting a comeback, according to Tripadvisor, which calls itself the world’s largest travel platform.
The company says “tourism markets continue their path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent Tripadvisor site data shows that globally, domestic travel for the fall season (September 1 – November 30, 2020) continues to gradually recover, with 65 percent of all travelers planning domestic fall getaways.
Interestingly, it seems that well-heeled travelers are among the most anxious to get on board, whether that means the front end of an airplane or a high-end cruise.
Global luxury travel network Virtuoso, which claims $30 billion in annual travel sales, says that after month of sheltering in place, upscale U.S. travelers are starting to take week and even month-long getaways and even multi-“pod” (family) vacations
For the fall, 79 percent of such travelers say would take part in a travel pod (defined as two or more households whose members have been following similar quarantine and social-distancing practices) of families or individuals making plans to vacation together.
Virtuoso claims that a full 100 percent of 18-25-year-olds are ready to travel. Enthusiasm for traveling in the midst of a pandemic is more muted for the older crowd, but the study says less than 50 percent of those 41 years and older are unwilling to go somewhere.
Some 66 percent of respondents say they are willing to fly, but they want the middle seat open. Surprisingly, it’s not about points or perks any more for the high-end crowd. Virtuoso claims that an “empty middle seat now determines airline loyalty.” And 73 percent say they would even pay extra for an airline ticket if it meant the middle seat next to them would remain empty.
Interestingly 59 percent are willing to take an international flight (pending travel restrictions.) So what would get people on a plane to a distant destination?
So far, most post-pandemic travel marketing seems to consist of two things One is begging for taxpayer dollars to save the airline and hotel industry. The other is boasting of the cleanliness and sanitation standards the destination, airline or vehicle operator adheres to. While both lines of communication are easy to understand considering the devastation COVID-19 has wrought, neither will motivate most tourists to travel.
What will? One promising approach has been taken by Porter & Sail, a hotel credits service that allows travelers to purchase such credits at “exclusive rates” at over 100 luxury boutique hotels in more than 20 countries. According to the company, the credits can be used at any time in the future, with no expiration date.
Flexibility is key, but what’s the sizzle that will attract the upscale traveler? Assuming you can get to London (which is reportedly possible already, if you can handle a two-week self-quarantine) you can enjoy The Road Trip Collection. Offered by Porter & Sail and THE OUT (powered by Jaguar Land Rover) the road trips are three intriguing escapes to the English countryside.
The packages let you flee London in your very own Range Rover, Land Rover or Jaguar for a drive down English country roads to your choice of luxury villas and resorts a few hours outside of the city. The experience includes countryside villas such as Great Fosters, Barnett Hill, Rowhill Grange or Alexander House.
The Road Trip Collection is offered in three package options. One is $840 EU and the other two are each $980 EU. The pricing covers a 2-night stay and the guest’s choice of a Range Rover, Land Rover or Jaguar for the duration of their travels in Great Britain, including vehicle front door delivery and pick up.
“Simply planning a trip can also work wonders for your mental state,” said a Porter & Sail spokesperson. “While people may not be able to travel to the UK right now, they will be able to eventually. Why not book now and have something exciting to look forward to?”