Finding The Faces Behind the Stats
Every week on RISE we try, as best we can to keep you informed of the news rather than the noise of this pandemic, especially as related to the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality sector (TT&H). It’s easy to get lost in the stats, or perhaps it’s more comfortable to focus on those, than on the human faces behind them.
THE FACE OF BUSINESS CLOSURES
Last week’s episode – Trading Spaces, Going Places, for many – really hit us in ‘the feels!’ Was it the raw, chilling, anguish of LA county restaurant owner Angela Marsden in the now viral video clip shared by Demian, in which she rails against the injustice of her restaurant closure, and implores local government and the public for support in saving her and other restaurant businesses? Possibly – it certainly affected all of us. We tease our Prof. Hodari about being grumpy, but all jest aside – this clip shared by him was an emotional insight that truly highlighted the human faces behind all the business closures!
THE FACES IN OUR COMMUNITIES
There is a real sense that people are making an effort to create order from the chaos brought by this crisis, and to control what they can. This includes how we spend our time and with whom we spend it. There’s a shifting of priorities and purpose, as well as a greater sense of community sharing and responsibility. As you may recall, in our Season 3 kick-off episode on January 18th, we talked about legacy, and how the tourist of the future will likely be a more conscious traveller, with a greater sense of accountability for the impact they make. In our second episode this past week, we talked about how tourism has become a genuinely more community-shared experience.
THE FACES OF OUR TRAVELERS
How do these human insights impact TT&H? Our viewer polls are always revealing, but what was really interesting last episode was that we asked you the same question almost a year ago (Season 1, Episode 3.) We asked: “Which of the lodging sectors will recover quickest after travel restrictions are lifted.”
Back then, 42% of you thought it would be city hotels, and 18% thought it would be resort hotels. Almost a year on, we asked the same question again this episode, and your response has been inverted! The majority – 37% of you, now back Resort Hotels for the fastest recovery, closely followed by short term rentals and only 11% predicted a faster rebound for city hotels. Is this because city hotels are associated with business travel? Or because people prefer to stay away from crowded city centres? Something tells us it’s about trust.
This question ties in with our first poll result which declared that the majority of you felt that remote working and studying would be the one ‘lockdown behaviour’ that would have the greatest impact on your lives 2 years from now.
Velma Corcoran, our great Exec. In Residence from Airbnb who has the very cool title of Regional Lead for Middle East & Africa, added “there’s been a shift from mass travel to the same destinations to see the sights – to more meaningful travel, to reconnect with loved ones.” This has resulted in dispersed travel to more remote destinations, rather than mass influx into the cities. A positive benefit of this – apart from encouragement that traveling safely is possible, has been the business stimulus to local communities around the host accommodation. This increase in traveling from one “safe bubble” to the next, possibly also accounts for our viewers predicting that resort hotels will be the happy beneficiaries of tourist interest once restrictions are lifted.
FACING OUR PERSONAL VALUE… AND VALUES
The way that we as people and as communities are coping, and creating a sense of order in our lives, is by re-prioritizing what’s important. These are our loved ones, our communities – local and sometimes virtual. Also how we spend our time – with an increased emphasis on quality time with loved ones. From the distrust in leadership and the conflicting information, has arisen a greater sense of personal accountability and responsibility for the choices we make – thus safeguarding ourselves and those we care about. Predicting and forecasting at the moment is almost impossible, and information is often unreliable. This is why we crave familiarity, transparency and a clear sense of what to expect! Authenticity, accountability and transparency – if these are the personal and corporate values that come to the fore out of this crisis, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all!
What do YOU feel are the most important values to you, and what do you value most now? Have they changed from a year ago? COVID19 is dropping a huge mirror in front of us all – what are you seeing?? As always, we love hearing from you, and checking in with you – not just as students and professionals – as people!
Next Monday on RISE we’ll be talking “Retail Therapy” with Andrew Jennings and David Green – 2 highly respected, globally celebrated and driven leaders. They have a wealth of experience to share and more to tell about how these challenging times have made retail a very interesting part of our survival… and our sneaky self-indulgences. Don’t miss out!
Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE.