Tour operators should look to remain visible in the marketplace but relaunching holiday programs too early will not only cause irritation, but humiliation if travel restrictions are extended longer than expected, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Stating an actual date for when holiday programs will commence will undoubtedly create hope and generate wanderlust for consumers. Yet in the long run, if the travel suspension continues, operators that have accepted new bookings to areas before it is possible to travel will create more confusion, irritation and possible reputational damage.
“Balance sheets for the first three months of the year will have taken a substantial knock and companies have to accept that demand is irrecoverable for Q12020. The global market value of travel intermediaries was US$332bn in 2019 having increased by 6.2% from the previous year, highlighting the significance of this sector. “In order to retain customer trust, companies are better off delaying holidays for the foreseeable future and investing time into developing a connection with consumers and acknowledging new markets in order to adapt to the future ahead.”
Jet2 Holidays is one of the first operators to have announced that both flights and holidays will resume by 17 June. Other travel companies have extended the suspension of operations. TUI, the European travel giant, announced operations and beach holidays up to and including 14 May were cancelled alongside Marella Cruise Intermediaries up to and including 31 May.