The travel industry is trying new tactics to recover from financial stress.
Experts say new deals are emerging that allow people to go on a trip of their dreams through 2022.
"We quickly realized that the number one factor that helped incentivize travel planning, travel booking, even for 12 to 18 months down the road was this high sense of flexibility, and so, we came up with this concept of putting out and working with hundreds of thousands of travel partners to really come up with these very attractive, aggressively-priced offers, explained Gabe Saglie, senior editor of Travelzoo, a company that facilities travel deals around the world. “But they are fully refundable, and they had these very long travel windows.”
Saglie says when COVID-19 hit, the industry came to a screeching halt. But through surveys of its 15 million members, Travelzoo soon found people were still willing to book, but mostly for future trips and not just any trip.
"People are looking not just to travel, but travel in a memorable way, a special way. So, we’ve been putting out these offers that in some cases are destinations that pre-COVID may not have been on people’s radar. Sort of far-flung bucket-list destinations," said Saglie.
Aran Campas, the co-founder of the social media travel site Travevel, says the pent-up demand for travel is showing in different ways.
"We're seeing two extremes. When we look in groups, forums, different areas, we have the people that are like, 'I’m going now. I’m tired of being trapped. I’m not worried about it, I’m going now. I’m going to wear my mask,’ and then, we have the people who are like, 'Oh, I just booked for 2022 or 2023,'" explained Campas.
Campas says pre-pandemic, people generally booked a year or less in advance. Now, they're seeing people either book a trip in the next 30 days or two years from now.
"What I think it is, I don't think it's so much the flexibility, I think it's let's get someone to book," said Campas.
Travelzoo says the help in cashflow is certainly good for the longevity of the industry.
"There is this infusion of traveler cash now that is helping a lot of these companies. A lot of our travel partners that are looking to employ as many employees on the books as possible, bring back as many employees as quickly as possible. That’s certainly an infusion that’s important, as it helps the industry navigate through these next couple of months until we’re on the other side of this," said Saglie.
So, how long will these flexible travel deals be around? Experts aren't too sure.
As soon as life gets back to normal and regular travel resumes, the deals could be gone. But if you're wanting to book these deals and possibly change the dates later, Travevel says pay attention to the fine print as some may increase the prices if you adjust your date of travel.