Flash back on the 8 week ReStart Live Series

Today,  Conversation Highlights of the first LIVE: "Capturing China's 'Revenge Travel' Opportunities" with UNWTO/CNN, Small Luxury Hotels of The World and Cathay Pacific which took place June 10

  "Capturing China's 'Revenge Travel' Opportunities"  
With: UNWTO/CNN, SMALL LUXURY HOTELS OF THE WORLD, CATHAY PACIFIC

"We know it's going to be domestic travel first. Firstly people in their countries, understand their countries protocols and policies more so. People are missing each other. The government is encouraging domestic travel because when you open up domestic travel you open up the supply and value chains. That's the way to get the domestic economy working"
Anita Mendiratta, Special Advisor, UNWTO & CNN

“ The world has stopped travelling but this is a health crisis globally that has caused a travel and tourism crisis, it wasn’t travel tourism on its own. So we always need to keep that in context."

"From a UNWTO perspective, best case scenario, we are looking for at a 58% downturn this year and worst case 78% in international travel. With travel restrictions on hundred percent of destinations, a million jobs a day are being lost, a million lives are being uprooted.
What we do know is that nothing is going to happen in terms of global travel and retail unless we manage the risk of the pandemic. There need to be policies in place between governments to open up the skies.”

How do we see travel opening up ?
Domestic travel is going to be the first trend of the market in China and elsewhere. “ The country has suffered 1.4 billion in losses of travel, but it also has been the first country to see the opportunity to ease up. The domestic travel in China is expected to grow 60% this year compared to 47% last year. Labor days saw 90 millions people travelling domestically. ”

“The ‘revenge travel’ is against the quarantine of the virus, it’s all about travelling because of excessive desire”.
“ This time of lockdown has allowed travel to become an escape vehicle and allowed destinations, airlines, hotels to become pause partners. A lot of airlines continued their activities transferring medical aid and practitioners. Aviation and travel and tourism have demonstrated why it is so valuable.”

“ Now sustainability is part of travel and tourism DNA ” . But it is not just about being green anymore. It deals with social, cultural, environmental and spiritual sustainabilities.
This is not the new normal, this is the next normal

"This is not a time for campaigning, this is about communicating. This is when brand needs to use the digital platforms for those 360 degree conversations"

“We need to inspire people, everyone travels for a reason, it is about bringing that reason to people in an entertaining way”
Edward BELL, General Manager Brand/Insights/Marketing, CATHAY PACIFIC

“This whole thing of revenge travel is interesting because people are angry that their life has been taken from them. But for me, the closer emotion is about reconnection travel.”

How does China’s travel look like ?
“ On a normal day, we (Cathay Pacific) transport 100 000 people. This last few weeks we have been helping 500 people to get where they want to go. We are fundamentally a chinese company and we are closely linked to what’s happening in China. So we are pleased to see on this Chart (> Watch 14’00 → 16’00) a rebound underway “

“ When we come to marketing we talk about two things: the ability to pay and the willingness to pay. I think the second thing is what all the airlines and hotel groups are thinking about : Who is willing to pay for the sector. China is out on the front of other markets with a greater willingness to pay for travel in the coming 6 months. “ 20% of chinese consumers are willing to travel more in the next 6 months when 53% are willing to travel less. “ We are using this as an indication, we need to start engaging with Chinese customers before other markets.

> Watch 16’00 → 17’20 for statistics and comparison with north american and european countries 

Domestic destinations remain the most realistic choice for chinese consumers. 55% have planned to travel domestically against 23% abroad (Chart → 19’00). Concerning motivation, Food and family destinations popular despite virus concerns.

“Our takeaways from the situation is that we need to focus on three things: first, who to target- our funds diminished so we need to focus on the right customer; secondly, we need to build up in terms of safety and reassurance; then, we have to think about what we can do to revive this travel passion.”

> Watch 20’50 →  21’40: Target marketing and adapt offerings

> Watch 33’40 → 36’40: Safety and reassurance

> Watch 36’40 → 43’20: Re-ignite and revive

“ People are looking for more nature, more relaxation, more remote places. There's a shift for people looking more at wellness, well-being.”
Mark WONG, Senior VP APAC, SMALL LUXURY HOTELS OF THE WORLD

“ The hotel occupancy from China’s sort of plummeted almost 90% once the lockdown started. Over the next 14 weeks we can start to see that the occupancy has started to come back “

> Watch 22’20 → 23’20 for Hotel occupancy evolution chart in China, US, and Europe.

“ The recovery of the hotel industry has a lot of factors. We expected a sharper ‘V’ recovery when people came back from the lockdown. But actually all the restrictions have impacted the sort of recovery which is slow. “

“We wanted to make sure that people don’t forget us over the lockdown period. What we have done was to map our social media strategy, a way to have a speeder sort of communication. The preferred method now in China is via social media rather than a more traditional way of advertising.” SHL adapted its communication strategy depending on the pandemic stage.

> Stage 1: Severe Pandemic Period.
“ We had to be very sensitive. Instead of pushing things like promotion, we kept it very solemn to reassure our guests, and make sure that we take care who has got reservation with us.”

> Stage 2: Pandemic Stable Period
“ Another thing we have done is to provide a sort of home entertainment so even so you can’t travel, we want to make sure that you’re still actually having this sort of travel experience at home.” (ex : sharing their restaurant’s recipes)

> Stage 3: Pandemic Remission Period
“ It was time to rebuild consumer confidence to travel again” and SHL posted their ‘2020 Luxury Travel Trends’ to inspire holiday planning. “ In line with our brand’s vision, we took the decision to launch a campaign to offer SHL travel experiences to the “COVID-19 heroes”

> Stage 4: Market Recovery Period
With the end of restrictions, business naturally picked up again because demand was there. This recovery was accelerated by numerous promotions and offers because all companies needed to re-engage consumers as quickly as possible.

In terms of travel trends, SHL has also noticed that domestic travel is first placed in recovery travel intentions. But in terms of timing, “People are not rushing on the next flight, the travel patterns are mirroring the timing of the year. We can see a spike of travel for the Labor day holiday”. 

> When do chinese consumers plan to travel next ? Watch 53’40 → 54’10

“Where we stand at SHL, we feel that even though we are a small group, we can deliver very big travel experiences. We feel that we could cater to the next normal, the normal criteria people are looking for. They are not looking for congested cities but more remote areas, more standalone types of villages where they don’t have to be exposed to that mass, crowded areas. I think we fit right into that niche of delivering those new criterias.”

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