Recently, Leisure Group Travel’s 2022 Travel Intentions Survey asked planners their thoughts regarding the challenges they face in the rebounding group travel market. This quick, two-question survey illuminated the challenges planners are facing amid a waning pandemic. Here is what’s on their minds:
Question 1: What is the biggest challenge facing your operations heading into the summer travel season?
Motivating customers to return to travel is the biggest concern for planners as the tourism market continues to rebound from the pandemic.
The good news for these planners is travel agents and operators have reported a significant increase in bookings in recent weeks for the spring and summer seasons. The World Travel & Tourism Council projects travel and tourism in the United States will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022, contributing nearly $2 trillion to the U.S. economy.
COVID-19 concerns was the runner-up in our survey for good reason as 63 percent of experts from the World Tourism Organization believe the sector won’t fully recover from the pandemic until 2024. As 2021 drew to a close with severe limitations to travel still in place, the WTO reported international tourist arrivals increased by just 4 percent last year, remaining 72 percent below 2019 levels.
The good news though is as more people become vaccinated and COVID-19 cases drop worldwide, more countries have loosened their restrictions and travel is opening up again. Jamie Larounis, a travel industry analyst with UpgradedPoints.com, told the Washington Post “We’re at a point right now where there is the most optimism there has ever been” regarding travel demand in the wake of the pandemic.
Question 2: In terms of product delivery, what is your biggest concern?
The lack of service at hotels, restaurants and attractions was the biggest concern of planners, followed by the difficulty of reaching group sales at hotels, restaurants and attractions.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the service industry as employment in the sector is down 8.7 percent since February 2020. Around 1.5 million jobs in leisure and hospitality are yet to recover according to the U.S. Travel Association.
On a positive note, leisure and hospitality led an increase in jobs in March, accounting for 112,000 of 431,000 jobs added overall, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Which is definitely a step in the right direction.
Leisure Group Travel will be releasing more survey questions in the future, so please fill them out and help LGT gain an insight into what travel planners are experiencing as we all battle to emerge from the pandemic.