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Travel’s Pandemic Myths: 5 Facts That Show They're Wrong

After nearly two years, the pandemic has created its own set of myths and urban legends in the travel industry. Planning for the future of travel necessitates a clear, data-driven grasp on where we currently stand. 

Skift Research debunks five travel myths in this presentation to provide the framework for understanding the current condition of travel and where our industry is headed.

The 5 Myths

MYTH 1 : China Is Leading the Travel Recovery

FACT : China’s Recovery Choppy and Mainly Domestic

For the majority of 2020, China led the globe in travel as its robust lockdown effort allowed for a speedy return to domestic travel. However, the vaccine's introduction in early 2021 has re-energized worldwide travel. China's recovery has been rough since then, with many surprise lockdowns and still no international travel.

From 2012 to 2019 China was the largest single source of outbound travellers in the world. Global travel cannot truly recover until China reopens to the world.

MYTH 2 : Business Travel Is Dead

FACT : Business Travel Is Returning

While business travel was put on hold during the epidemic, current data from corporate travel company TripActions reveals that business booking activity is already rebounding.

Business travel may look and feel different in the coming years, and portions of the old world may never return, but make no mistake: corporate road warriors are returning.

MYTH 3 : The Big Hotel Brands Had It Better

FACT : Independent Hotels Showed Their Might

During the early stages of the epidemic, it appeared that the big hotel chains had all the benefits over independent establishments. They were able to improve their balance sheets by tapping into public markets and signing glitzy collaborations with cleaning companies.

It turns out that independents outperform brands in at least one significant parameter. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) at independent hotels in the United States is 91 percent recovered compared to 2019 levels, while brands are only 75 percent recovered.

MYTH 4 : The Pandemic Dragged Travel Into the Future

FACT : The Pandemic Dragged Travel Into the Present

Many of the distinctive technologies embraced as part of the 'future of work' are really outdated technology. Travel has not been pushed into the future, merely dragged into the present and there are much work is still needed to design the true future of travel.

MYTH 5 : Short-Term Rentals Are Replacing Hotels

FACT : Hotels Are Staging a 2021 Comeback

In 2020, short-term rentals had their best year ever as a product category. Hotels, on the other hand, are planning a retaliatory strike in 2021. Many people were introduced to short-term rentals for the first time as a result of the pandemic.

This sort of lodging will undoubtedly develop as a result, but it will not overrun hotels anytime soon.


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