How travel-related businesses have adapted to COVID-19

Many companies in many different industries have had to rethink their business models in order to adapt to the new circumstances brought upon us by the pandemic.

Yoav Rosenberg
October 26, 2020

The last six months have been trying for almost all companies, small and large alike. With the exception of a few companies (Zoom and Netflix come to mind), many companies in many different industries have had to rethink their business models in order to adapt to the new circumstances brought upon us by the pandemic.

The Travel Industry

Instinct might point directly at the Travel industry as being hardest hit by the pandemic but a surprising number of companies have been able to identify ways of staying afloat, and even flourish, throughout the downtick in travel.

Many commercial airlines, for example, have utilized their fleet for cargo flights. At the start of the pandemic, approximately 90% of scheduled flights had to be canceled. Instead of leaving their planes to collect dust, larger airlines like Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, and United have repurposed them to transport cargo.

Tiqets, a travel experience company that hosts in-person attractions for tourists has had an expected downturn in business following the pandemic. Since then, though, they’ve been working with the once-hotspots for tourism (museums, zoos, etc.) to develop online tours and experiences.

Travel management companies that help corporations book and manage their employee travel have also been affected by the halt in commercial travel, with many companies having no recourse to conduct essential activities abroad. Anticipating this, some travel companies, like TravelSuit, have begun working with alternate air travel providers, like private aircraft companies, to give companies the ability to travel abroad despite lack of commercial options.

The Hospitality Industry

With intermittent lockdowns and restrictions on guest capacity, many restaurants, bars, clubs, and hotels, have had a difficult time figuring out how to keep their businesses running.

With many hotels struggling to attract guests, some are getting creative as to the best use of their space. Red Roof Hotels, for instance, has decided to help the influx of employees that need to work from home by offering their rooms as work spaces. Others are offering their rooms to rent on a monthly basis as a solution for people that need temporary housing.

Bushwick, a popular bar in Tel Aviv, has decided to match the restaurants that have turned to home delivery by offering specialty bottled cocktails, enabling their clientele to enjoy specially crafted drinks from the comfort of their own home.

While many clubs have turned to online events and performances, Village Underground, a large venue in London used to hosting a wide range of international acts, has turned it’s space into a bar/cafe and gallery, allowing them to operate on a smaller scale until regulations allow for them to once again welcome the crowds they were used to hosting.

The Public Transportation Sector

Public transport trends have changed drastically over the past few months, pushing policy makers and governmental companies to rethink how public transport is handled and make it more efficient.

One emerging trend is to innovate in the space of Mobility-as-a-Service. One recent example of this is how Israel implemented smart mobility to mobilize over 150,000 first line responders. According to travel demand gauged through an app, they were able to calculate the most efficient journey for each passenger and route buses accordingly, making public transport seem closer to an uber pool like experience than the rigid transport system we are all familiar with.

If adopted on a larger scale, this could help make public transport more efficient and able to stay afloat throughout demand fluctuations.

Micromobility is also growing fast with the use of e-scooters skyrocketing in many destinations. The United Kingdom, for instance, has fast tracked the legal use of e-scooters on the road to give the population an alternative to the usually-cramped underground tube. Many surveys conducted in the UK, US, China, Japan, and Germany, have indicated that the government’s support of these programs will contribute to the rise in use of e-scooters by up to 45%.

Similarly, biking is rising in popularity as well, with interest in e-bikes and public-use bicycles surging between 10-50% across the globe.

Perseverance Through Innovation

Apart from the businesses mentioned above, countless companies are rethinking what their business means during the pandemic and how they can adapt to the new situation. While COVID-19 has been, and is continuing to be, a menacing force in the world, it’s important to keep optimistic and use these examples as a source of inspiration to propel innovation and creativity in your own sector and industry.

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