During our weekly call, our intern, Andrew disclosed some research I’d ask of him. The project in question was initially to answer the validity of Amazon Explore; a competitor to Airbnb Experiences, Facebook Live, Booking.com, Viator, Lonely Planet, YouTube/Facebook/Instagram live and so on.
But I think he may have raised an even bigger point about the place many travellers find themselves in and the key question we’re all asking:
When can I travel again?
Andrew’s feedback was concise and dismissive of Amazon’s new catch-up-innovation (a term I use for businesses jumping on the trending bandwagon) Jeff Bezos will be the first to admit Amazon makes many gambles with their innovation – many that fail – and this is on purpose.
It would explain the poor quality of Amazon Explore’s webpage.
I usually like these assumptions and opinions to be backed up by evidence though, but Andrew said something that struck a chord and opened a wider discussion.
I think we’re on the back end of the pandemic now and people aren’t really thinking about this sort of thing.
He was referring to the idea of virtually touring a location and that people have probably moved on from that luxury.
People are over virtual anything. The horizon appears to be showing the warm hints of travel again. And like me, people are now considering and planning their trips because it’s becoming reality that they can do so (albeit without putting down a nonrefundable deposit).
Asking my British, American, and Australian contacts, I realised many were now out of any form of lockdown, back to work and hearing constant positive news in the media of a vaccine.
America is confident that 300 million people will have the option to be vaccinated from May this year. Here in New Zealand, we’re looking at complete vaccination by the end of the year.
If you look at the World Health Organisation’s covid dashboard (updated minute by minute), you’ll see a trend of infections lowering. Is Andrew right? Are we on the tail end of this thing?
But, back to the original comment:
“I think we’re on the back end of the pandemic now and people aren’t really thinking about this sort of thing”.
So, when can you travel again?
The thing Andrew referred to was ‘virtual holidays’. These hour long, $130 trips through your screen from someone using their phone, a rough internet connection and a stabiliser. It was fun while it lasted, but that was back between March and May 2020 when people needed clever distractions.
We’re all done with this drama and perhaps maybe more proactive than we’ve ever been. Consider Australia who are seeing the largest rise in GDP in decades (even without tourism).
New Zealand is similar with Westpac’s chief economist saying “we’re yet to see the catastrophic impact of a barren tourism sector and what this will do to our economic recovery and future rate increases”. There is no doubt the government has its eye on this issue too.
When I jumped on Amazon Explore, the link for the Australian holidays didn’t even work. The individual tour pages were poor and it felt like Jeff and his team really didn’t put any heart into it – almost as if an executive saw an Airbnb article and told his team to ‘copy that’.
These consistent scrambles to grab our attention and money with poor service is getting old and people know it.
Our attention spans are limited and maxed out as it is – we’re ready to have more control over what we do and I believe travel is a big part of that. I mean, holidays are probably the single most desired activity from all humans right now; some bloody well-deserved time off!
I think the answer to the question when can I travel again is already answered: right now! But you need to be aware of the restrictions still in place and the risk of losing deposits – which is rare given the flexibility of most desperate providers.
This means that while you may not have the confidence to book an Emirates flight next month, you may find more pleasure out of exploring locations, or researching general costs.
Saying that, all of my opinions stated above are just that. I haven’t put in the time to research whether that is the case, I don’t think anyone has. But general conversations around the office, my friendship circle and social media groups make me confident.
What do you think?
Do you think we’re unlikely to see much more in the way of virtual innovation to combat the lack of physical travel? Or do you think people are preparing their suitcases and fanny packs for some epic travel?
Let us know in the comments of where you found this post!