Travel and tourism industries have become collateral damage in the world’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID. But vaccinations offer the promise of hope for a revival in these sectors in 2021-2022.
Like the airline, rail, and cruise industries dealt with pandemic-related downturns, corresponding travel hubs like airports, rail stations, car rental outlets, and cruise terminals also experienced parallel effects during the global crisis. The decline in passenger air travel resulted in airports adopting cost-cutting measures like closing and consolidating gates, shutting down concessions, and reducing staff.
The Forecast is Favorable for Travel
Whether seeking adventure or just a change of scenery, after a year of locks down, quarantines, and closed borders, people are looking to escape the confines of their homes. Forecasters point to a pent-up appetite for travel and tourism, both expected to enjoy a boom once vaccinations are more widely distributed and restrictions are lifted. European holidaymakers are looking ahead, and many have already booked trips for later this year, while some countries are deliberating on implementing ‘vaccine passports.’
- According to McKinsey, leisure travel will bounce back first, before business travel, with domestic destinations leading the trend. The International Air Transport Association predicts a rise in travel through 2021 as borders reopen.
- Countries reliant on tourism are now testing creative marketing solutions, aligning with tourism agencies, tour operators, hospitality, and regional business partners to create attractively-priced packages designed to entice and lure back visitors. The EU has created a Re-Open EU online tool, which utilizes data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention to track the health situation in member countries and allow visitors to plan their travels better.
- Airlines and other transport operators are trying to boost ticket sales by offering greater flexibility for travelers wanting options like the ability to make penalty-free changes to dates and flights.
- Everywhere tourists are expecting a greater emphasis on safety, cleanliness, and touch-free technology.
What can you do to get ready?
In anticipation of the return to normalcy, airports and the travel sector, as a whole, should look to making improvements to welcome what is projected to be a great influx of guests in late 2021 and 2022.
It’s no surprise that today’s travelers are looking to feel safe and express a heightened concern for health measures at airports, rail stations, cruise terminals, and other transport hubs. How will the pandemic change travel, and what can you do to prepare?
- The desire for increased social distancing could impact floor plans, and in turn, change toques.
- Consumers will show a preference for technology, such as interactive screens, virtual ordering, and online payment systems.
- Travelers eschewing close interaction, especially indoors, will display a greater reliance and preference for signage – digital screens, directional and wayfinding signs – for up-to-date information and help navigate large, complex spaces.
Wayfinding: a critical part of your Sign Portfolio
Signage is your first contact with guests. Create a safe, welcoming environment with well-planned wayfinding from TISA. Wayfinding systems require thoughtful planning and intelligent design. A TISA team comprised of project managers, designers and engineers will survey the facility, analyze traffic flow, chart a course, identify key points, and detail strategies for navigation and safety.
Wayfinding signage should be a part of your design portfolio, seamlessly coordinating with your design aesthetic, serving a functional purpose while still communicating your brand identity.
- Directional signage outside at street level helps steer vehicular traffic through parking lots and garages, while pedestrians are directed to entrances, shuttle stops, and gates.
- Inside travel hubs, wayfinding signs speed guests to their destinations, pointing visitors to terminals, gates, restrooms, and concessions. Wayfinding also relays critical information – from safety reminders and emergency exits – to elevators, stairs, and baggage claim areas.
- Digital screens give the most flexibility with the ability to inform, entertain and educate. Digital signs give you the power to update content in real-time to enhance your guest’s experience or to provide critical information in an emergency. Interactive digital signs can be incorporated into kiosks and complement your traditional wayfinding. As traveling is synonymous with long wait times, digital screens can distract and alleviate boredom.
The Future of Travel and the Role of Signs
People are anxious to get away, explore, relax, and reconnect with friends and loved ones across miles. Travel and tourism will rebound beginning late 2021, with a flurry of ‘revenge-travel’ activity for the foreseeable future. However, the pandemic will change expectations and the way we navigate the world. Wayfinding signage in transportation and travel hubs will take on an outsize role in helping travelers feel informed, engaged, and safe.
You can rely on the sign experts for wayfinding solutions tailored to your specific needs; contact us today.