In a virtual meeting, the ASTA Global Live continued with the second day of its educational sessions and marketplace meetings. The focus of this conference was on positivity aspects and recovery.
“Crisis creates opportunity.” This saying is the best way, to sum up, the meeting’s purpose and was mentioned by Travel Network’s president and CEO Alex Sharpe.
Like a mantra, this quote should be repeating itself over and over in our minds. The very specific panel and the one-on-one Q&A sessions clearly described an industry, damaged by the pandemic but now looking for a recovery in the future and once again standing on its feet.
The president of Southwest Airlines, Tom Nealon, mentioned: “What we are going through a very incredible and the unusual is how long it’s going to be. It’s going to take years before it recovers and this is why the industry will look different because it is going to take this long to recover.”
Bill Moreno of Amadeus North America said “Personal touch is the value you bring. We are developing a lot of robotic touchless tech that can handle stuff for you so that you can do what you do best. You should be doing what you’re specialized for while letting the everyday routine to be taken care of by the technology. Pass on the tech to do the stuff you don’t want to do.”
Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriot, praised ASTA’s advocacy work, shared an optimistic point of view about the future of the travel industry. He asserted that younger generations are the ones to lead this recovery, something that is already beginning.
“First we will see more people welcoming leisure travel in the drive to destinations with open arms, followed by domestic air, then international. The return to travel will be led by young people who want to get on with their lives. The desire and will to travel and collect experiences and live their moments and get together in person has raised for them now.”
Sorenson also mentioned another change that would take place in the industry and that is the transformation of the hotels due to the ongoing pandemic. New contactless measures will be applied. Protocols such as the new delivery system, keyless entry, and face mask-wearing. However, he did clarify that safety should be above all measures.
Vicki Freed, senior vice president, sales support, trade, and service, at Royal Caribbean noted that the pandemic has allowed cruise lines to push ahead with changes.
After months and months of bad news that banned any sort of traveling, this new positive shade can brighten up the industry and also the jobs which were affected by the pandemic.