There seems to be a sinking feeling about this coming winter and a new surge of Covid cases be it delta, omicron, or any other variant we haven’t heard of yet. My home of New York posted a record 21,000+ new cases on Friday though the good news is that they don’t seem to be as deadly as two years ago.
Yes, two years and still going. And yes, we’re learning to live with this, and it appears that we will continue to do so definitely takes winds out of the sales of an economic recovery that isn’t fully engaged.
Restaurants are closing again as well as Broadway shows including “Tina,” and “Hamilton,” along with Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular due to breakouts within each of these theaters. Again, mask mandates have been put in effect by New York State Governor Hochul which is really is a big bummer.
For full disclosure, I do have tickets for Hamilton and rather disappointed that I probably won’t attend next week.
Looking at this from the point of view for travel, both personal and business there seems to be a bifurcation at least right now. Having been essentially cooped up and cut off from families, friends and vacations for so long, people still have the appetite to give these journeys a shot. And why not? We need to be in the world again and if certain measures are taken it may seem worth the risk.
As for business travel, there seems to be a different thought process going on. According to an article published this week in GlobeSt.com, “As Business Travel Falters the Hotel Sector Faces Protracted Recovery”, quoting a report from Moody’s Analytics, “Certain segments of business travel may never fully return to pre-pandemic levels,” and stating “permanent declines are expected within the range of 10 and 30%...as would-be business travelers increasingly substitute technology for in-person meetings”
Though there’s a big difference between these two goal posts, we’re looking at a big shift in behaviors and even culture. And this doesn’t consider the next year where those numbers will unfortunately be higher in the short run. And let’s not even look at the first quarter of 2022 where other factors are at play including the once again pushing back of return to office dates.
The Moody’s report also mentions, “Even amongst this set of travelers, there is a cautious willingness to venture out and meet in person once again with clients and colleagues.”
Where does this leave us? We are definitely better equipped to deal with another disruption and hopefully this will be a very short one. On the other hand, it’s disappointing on so many levels to possibly push back the starting time in 2022 as it was so rewarding and exciting to see so many of you over the past few months during “conferences” season.
And I'm curious, what are your business travel plans in the near future? Will you venture out to conferences, offsite meetings, site tours, etc.? Have mandates come down from on high in either direction? At best all we can say is that once again, it looks to be a bumpy ride.