Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

Brace Yourself for the Summer Travel Boom

Brace Yourself for the Summer Travel

Safe to say, pandemic travel fears may be a thing of the past. For how long is unclear.

Lynn Haglund has been planning a vacation in Greece for more than two years. Last month, she finally hopped on a flight.

On November 12, 2019, Haglund began searching online to book her dream summer vacation. Four months later all international travel was banned in the U.S. putting a grinding halt to her daydreams of exploring the Mediterranean Sea.

“It was devastating,” Haglund tells GEM Journal. “I worked my entire life waiting to plan this trip. I’m so happy things are getting back to normal and I was able to finally see Athens and all its beauty.”

Haglund’s just one of many who’ve planned a huge, once-in-a-lifetime trip. Many are still awaiting theirs.

Personal finance site Value Penguin polls Americans on their summer travel plans every year. The most recent survey findings reveal that 73 percent have summer travel plans. That’s up from 53 percent last year – and many are planning a huge vacation unlike in years past.

“People have likely been saving up to take major bucket list trips or are now ready to take trips they had planned before the pandemic,” says Sophia Mendel, ValuePenguin spokesperson. “Travelers are finally planning to splurge on a couple of major trips they’ve been unable to take during the pandemic and are putting their money toward making the most of those bucket list trips.”

Is the travel and leisure industry prepared?

Even Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has noticed an uptick in users searching for summer travel plans. Search engines queries for “passports,” “beaches and islands,” and “vacation rentals” have all had a noticeable increase in search volume, according to Yahoo!finance.

“For the past couple of years, people were more reluctant to fly and navigate COVID-19 restrictions in various destinations,” Mendel says. “But now as the transportation mask mandate has been dropped and many countries are relaxing their entry restrictions, the world is becoming accessible again.”

As good as this sounds on paper, both the travel industry and travelers need to prepare for what kind of experience those vacations will look like in Summer 2022.

The travel industry sector has lost 1.4 million jobs since before the pandemic. One short-term solution seems to be technology and automation. More airports and hotels are adding kiosks to help expedite travel for tickets and guest check-ins. Some hotels have even added on artificial intelligence for tasks like room service delivery, cleaning, and even “concierge robots,” according to CNBC.

It’s unclear how this will reflect in the overall guest experience and service for travelers this summer. But if you ask Haglund if her recent experience overseas was worth the frustration. She answers an unequivocal yes.

“After all I’ve been through these past few years, these new memories make up for it,” Haglund says. “There’s been so much loss and hurt in the world. Sailing the Mediterranean and the good times are the only memories I want to focus on now.”