Technology adoption in travel market will spike post Covid-19

By Peden Doma Bhutia,

Virendra Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Videc, says that with domestic tourism leading the way post Covid-19, the money otherwise earmarked for outbound travel, will shift towards local consumption and in turn fuel local economies.

Virendra Jain’s company has devised an online resource, ‘Global Travel Staffing Barometer’ that tracks terminations, furloughs and pay-cuts in the travel, tourism & hospitality industry. While Jain has earlier spoke at length with ETTravelWorld about the barometer, this time around he shares his thoughts on the tourism industry, post Covid-19.

ETTravelWorld (ETTW): In your analysis, how big a dent will Covid-19 leave on the travel and hospitality industry?
Virendra Jain (VJ): The workforce impact of Covid-19 is enormous. Within a matter of days, our analysis (at Global Travel Staffing Barometer) spiked from thousands to half a million travel industry jobs at risks – in the form of furloughs and terminations.

ETTW: Do you think people’s dependence on technology will increase post this crisis?
VJ: Technology is the way of life in this century. So, the question is the pace of its adoption, especially in the travel industry. We are increasingly seeing rich media content, immersive 3D destination tours and virtual reality being put to great use during these times of lockdown in India, and quarantine broadly in rest of the world. Plus, if Covid-19 has done anything, it has put forth the age old saying that life is uncertain, live in the moment. So we do believe, once we put Covid-19 behind us, the incidence of travel will increase (gradually) with a significantly higher usage of technology around rich media, voice and superior concierges.

ETTW: What is the kind of technology that will see a boom among travellers?
VJ: We expect technology adoption to spike in the post-Covid-19 era. Travellers will expect social distancing, remote accessibility and support, by default. This may also give rise to “CleanTech” – companies that can ensure hygiene and sanitization levels, and digitally communicate those to the travellers. Think about it as a TripAdvisor rating for hotels, but for hygiene levels! Ultimately, the digital natives will now formulate the majority share of travellers, and will become mainstream.

ETTW: How does the road to recovery look like for the industry?
VJ: Your guess is as good as mine. I know that there are various scenarios out there. Modelling is dependent on core assumptions. That’s what determines the accuracy or the fallacy of it. Assumptions are a combination of historical data and futuristic trend. We do have historical data to fall on, but that’s more financial (2001 dot-com bubble, 2008 global financial crisis) than biological (None of the pandemics, SARS, H1N1, Ebola had a similar worldwide impact as Covid-19). While we do not know what recovery will look like, we can take respite in knowing that recovery will be slow and local. Travel will be driven by necessities: corporate travel, weddings and incentives. From what we are seeing in China, domestic travel will lead the way. That also translates into the money otherwise earmarked for the outbound travel shifting towards local consumption, thus fuelling local economies. On the industry side, corporate development activity is usually in an overdrive mode once some level of stability comes in. We expect M&A activity to extend across the value chain and industry segments. With the valuations low and lots of potential IP and brands on the block, acquisitions will lead to industry consolidation.

Read original story on ET Travel World.