Here’s how travel will probably look like in the post-COVID era
Arranging vacation after COVID-19 will surely not be something easy. Whether they choose destination, or the kinds of experience they wish to enjoy in a place, it has become pretty obvious that travelers across the globe will be taking seriously into consideration a series of factors before they can eventually decide.
It comes as no surprise the fact that most of the travelers will choose for their next vacation – whenever this will be feasible – taking activities in small groups or privately, while they will be wishing at the same time the latter to be taking place in destinations with small population. Besides, in the most recent years there has been an increasing tendency for experiential tourism, with travelers not being satisfied anymore with destinations that are affected by hyper tourism therefore turning to alternative experiences.
It is indicative the fact that, according to recent Google searches during the coronavirus outbreak, outdoor activities, such as fishing, climbing, biking, or sailing (etc.) seem to gain important popularity after the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, before the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak, traditional sights such as big museums, monuments and galleries used to frequently monopolize the interest of the majority of the tourists; although these sights will definitely regain their popularity, it is equally certain that more and more visitors will be also resorting to alternative choices; for example, they will be definitely looking into enjoying less popular (and crowded) experiences – however, equally interesting – such as visiting a national park, going camping or glamping, having a gastronomic experience in small groups or visiting a local market.
In an attempt to decode the “landscape” that seems to arise in the post-COVID era, the CapsuleT team spoke with Fisea, Narratologies and WeAreTravelers, 3 startups that have already completed our Acceleration Program and provide technological solutions in the field of travel experiences, to find out more.
From their perspective, are personalized and alternative travel experiences here to stay and how do they believe that travelers will respond to the new circumstances? Ioannis Kosmadakis, Founder of Fisea, says: “Over the last few years, there has been an increasing tendency for experiential tourism, since a lot of travelers turn away from overtourism and seek adventure and original experiences, instead – depending on their budget. At Fisea, we strongly believe that this trend is not going to slow down, especially under the new circumstances, while at the same time trips in small groups and last-minute reservations are expected to significantly increase. Once the COVID-19 measures/restrictions are lifted, it is likely that a hybrid model of massive and alternative tourism will prevail, combining both already popular destinations and destinations that are characterized by authenticity and personalization”.
Aliki Iovita, Co-founder of Narratologies, highlights: “We can observe a deep change in our habits and behaviors, which is also reflected in our priorities as travelers. Therefore, there are new experiences that arise and address individuals and small groups’ needs, experiences that include low or even no-contact activities and can ensure a safe/protected entertainment, as well as experiences that can bring us – safely and with innovative ways – closer to what we were deprived of, namely the social interaction. Thus, turning to digital is a one-way direction since it provides us with tools for the new needs”. Besides, Narratologies, through the mobile self-guided experiences that offers, provides all users with a unique way to discover and explore new cities, as well as their history and people.
“Being among a large group of unknown people or following a program that has been designed for the lowest common denominator is not something that many travelers would wish for. It is more likely that they seek something that meets their own desires. As a traveler, what you wish is that your trips are the best possible for you and that you are able to organize and book them instantly, without any extra cost, enjoying them to the fullest along with your loved ones. I do believe that the new circumstances will be proved crucial for an even faster transition to more personalized trips and experiences. And travelers will be the big “beneficiaries”! This is something that can happen right now, and this is exactly what we offer through WeAreTravelers”, underlines Isiodos Tsigkos, CEO of the third startup.
Regarding the valuable “ingredients” any company that operates in the field of alternative experiences should have from now on, all 3 startups put emphasis both on the safety as well as on the biggest possible utilization of digital tools. More specifically, Ioannis Kosmadakis of Fisea points out: “Any online travel agency that operates in the alternative tourism sector, should focus on ensuring powerful health protocols, since safety is now more precious than any other comfort and experience. It is almost certain that, expecting a gradual increase of domestic tourism and creating packages for short trips to local destinations, will be proved beneficial during the “new normal”. At Fisea, by acknowledging the need for modern OTAs to ensure that they have access to flexible and competitive booking engines, we are about to launch a new service, a white-label solution aiming at covering exactly this kind of solutions”.
The utilization of digital tools and a consistent online presence, allowing the instant communication and interaction with its customers, are the key “ingredients” every new company that operates in the sector needs to have, according also to Aliki Iovita of Narratologies. And she adds: “It is now more important than ever – especially for companies that provide experiences – to be able to use such digital tools in a creative and inventive way, so that they can achieve the biggest possible engagement with their users/consumers, offering a “taste” of the uniqueness of their product/service. Since travelers are going to limit spontaneous travel due to the current circumstances, it is crucial for every company to have a significant digital presence, so that travelers are able to find out more about it and get to know what exactly it offers, even prior to their trip. In addition, it is worth noting that competition will definitely be fierce and online reviews will play an even more significant role. Therefore, it would be important for every company to differentiate in a creative way its brand identity and products/services”.
For his part, Isiodos Tsigkos of WeAreTravelers highlights that a lot of travelers/users, having temperamental traits and being familiar with digital interfaces, tend to also seek an equivalent level of service when it comes to their trip; “therefore, it is more likely that they appreciate the potential for essential personalization and customization as far as their needs and desires are concerned. Travelers need to be able to do everything in the blink of an eye, through a reliable interface – without having to pick up the phone or stand by. They do not want to necessarily be part of a large group and they try to avoid overcrowding, while at the same time they also want to always have the flexibility to adjust their plan, even at the last minute”.
A few words about the 2 startups
Fisea is a platform for providing integrated fishing trips with the aim of increasing fishermen’s standard of living, combating overfishing and developing fishing tourism in Greece.
Narratologies is an IoT platform and mobile app that offers gamified urban experiences, making the discovery of genuine local culture easy and fun.
WeAreTravelers is the ultimate travel agent, in intuitive software. The platform gives you your full vacation with 1 click; sights and experiences, food and nightlife, accommodation, and transportation across destinations.