The new normal. Everyone is talking about it. And while the phrase might be on your list of top ten COVID-19 sayings you’d be fine with never hearing again (a close personal second to the toilet paper meme), it holds an undeniable truth. Our post-pandemic world will never go back to what it was when sharing was considered caring, and a case of corona was something people welcomed to the party. How and where we travel sits at the heart of this. Our very concept of vacation will change, but perhaps that’s not a bad thing.
Confidence is Key
Gone are the days of traipsing around the globe with the kind of cheery insouciance to which many of us have become accustomed. Health and hygiene, sanitation, and safety – these are the four absolute essentials that tomorrow’s vacationer will demand. The key will lie in gaining traveler confidence. Destinations everywhere will be looking for ways to demonstrate to their guests that sanitation standards, social-distancing protocols, and best health and safety practices are being strictly adhered to. Once a destination has gained a traveler’s confidence, that same traveler will very likely choose to return to their contagion-conscious sanctuary, secure in its familiarity and trustworthiness. COVID-19 is not the first pandemic to rock our world, and it won’t be the last. People will seek out a place that they can trust and remain loyal to it in the afterlife of this crisis and the next.
Family is King
According to a trend report released by luxury travel network Virtuoso in October of last year, multi-generational travel was already among the most popular trends predicted for 2020 – long before we were ordered to batten down the hatches and stay put. During our enforced confinement, we have leant on those with which we are held captive, and we have deeply missed those whose faces we have only been able to see on screen. Without a doubt, our corona-imposed quarantine has reinforced the importance of family and the value of time together. While those of us quarantined with either toddler or teen might on occasion feel otherwise, the past month or so have been a solid reminder to many of the precious nature of family bonds. As a result, there is likely to be a boom in multi-generational travel. The popular destinations will be those that offer the something-for-any-age-group activities desired by this demographic.
Back to Basics
What wouldn’t we all do for a simple meal in a restaurant, a mask-free milk run, and a walk with our dog around more than just the perimeter? Corona and the loss of personal freedom and confinement it has brought with it has certainly revived an appreciation of life’s simple pleasures – sunshine, wind and starlight, an afternoon in the park, a walk on the beach, a quick hug hello. It makes sense that this restored gratitude will translate into the locations we pick to travel to. People will seek out a place that is in harmony with its surroundings. A retreat that is focused on outdoor pursuits that celebrate nature, wellbeing, and tranquility. After being cooped up inside apartments and condos, it will be all about a safe, soothing escape to soak up the sun, fill our lungs with fresh air, and blow away the cobwebs of confinement that have gathered in our minds.
Few and Far Between
High density vacationing is firmly in the rearview mirror. Instead, we feel the road ahead includes a universal tendency for travelers to gravitate towards more remote, isolated destinations worldwide – low-density multi-generational resorts characterized by well-spaced villas with private amenities and grounds. Restaurant meals, housekeeping, communal pools and showers, even the beloved breakfast buffet (sob!) – we have to rethink them all. We expect that in order to feel truly safe, people will be looking for a vacation villa that mirrors their own home – one that offers a private kitchen, laundry, and swimming pool, as well as personal chef services, a dedicated housekeeper or butler. Popular resorts will offer pursuits such as hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, kitesurfing, fishing, yoga – independent interests that can be enjoyed alone or at a safe distance from others. All these luxuries will go a long way in assuring holiday-makers that they will have the safest, most meaningful experience possible.
In today’s tech-savvy world, hardly anyone travels without their personal technologies, smartphones, and tablets. This BYOD culture means people have long demanded the exact same ease of access and communication that they have at their offices and in their homes. At a time when we predict people will likely be forgoing multiple quick trips a year in favor of a lengthier break that they can mix with a little work-from-home time, seamless connectivity for multiple devices and functions is more important than ever. The ability to check-in, up and on the office and colleagues, family and friends, the ability to stream, to zoom, to chat, to GoTo – the list is endless, but a non-negotiable prerequisite for post-COVID vacationers. Forget the fly in the soup; spotty Wi-Fi will be the veritable death of a destination in our post-contagion world.
Travel is forever changed. As it should be. The coronavirus pandemic has allowed the planet to take a breath and offered us an opportunity for introspection. It is impossible to deny the interconnectivity between people, systems, and organizations across the world. While this realization has been catastrophic in the spread of the virus globally, it has also demonstrated that we are able to unite for the collective good. In the infinite wisdom of Sun Tzu, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” At Oil Nut Bay, we’re choosing to see the silver lining and are feeling well prepared for this new future of travel.