Events season is coming up in Asia, even though most of them had to take on a virtual format as most participants are unable to travel overseas. In retrospect, the MICE industry should be lauded for working tirelessly to keep events running. A recent presentation made by John Gerzema, CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics/The Harris Poll, showed that participants are mostly concerned about the lack of personal connections and interactions. We are certain that ‘live’ or physical events will not be a thing of the past.
In other news, domestic travel in China has rebound to its parallel levels in 2019, despite the challenges afore-predicted during the Covid-19 pandemic. This piece of good news comes even before the Golden Week of China, the 7-day National holidays, which has been supplemented to 8 due to the Mid-Autumn’s Festival falling on the 1st of October. The results confirm the pent-up demand by the largest contributor to outbound travel of the world, and we cannot wait to see how the industry will fare (positively of course) once international travel resumes.
Scroll down for more news selection for the month of September.
In the frame of CEIR’s Annual Exhibition Industry Outlook Conference, Predict, futurist John Gerzema, CEO, Harris Insights & Analytics/The Harris Poll, gave two presentations, one of which the speaker provided the results of a Harris poll conducted among event participants in April, and then again in September. The virtual conference, held on September 22, gave insights for event professionals in today’s uncertain and unchartered times: a sense of what’s to come next and how to prepare.
Gerzema said that the poll results bear out the fact that virtual business events are making progress in key areas. When asked to identify the challenges of online business events, a lack of personal connections and interactions was at the top of the list. Zoom fatigue must have set in during the five months between the two polls, because 39 percent said in September that it was difficult to maintain attention for long periods of time, vs. 35 percent in April.
The next slide Gerzema shared were the results from the two polls in answer to “Which of the following would you be interested in for future online business events you might attend?” Topping the list for both polls: Interactive “ask me anything” sessions with subject-matter experts, which has grown in popularity from 41 percent in April to 47 percent in September. Attendees also are increasingly seeking “online content guides or ambassadors who are real people” in their digital event experiences.
Read More: PCMA
A recent survey undertaken by Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) shows that Travel Ready advocates continue to drive pent up demand for luxury holidays this year despite ongoing uncertainty over international travel restrictions. The survey, conducted in partnership with Liz Hall Hotel & Travel Consulting, looked at the current travel sentiments of over 6,000 members of the luxury brand’s INVITED programme. The results show a desire to travel this year wherever possible, adapting travel plans to changes in governmental advice and a preference for smaller hotels where their experience can be managed and customised.
The survey also showed that most international bookings from Asia Pacific were mainly for Q2 2021 visits, with top destinations being Italy and the United Kingdom. Most are also mindful of travelling safely, with a majority agreeing almost unanimously (93%) to additional health checks at the airport.
In terms of selecting accommodation, over 90% of recipients stated that they would feel most comfortable in a small hotel, while private residences were also popular.
Read More: Hotelier Magazine
A rapid surge in luxury villa rentals over the summer has resulted in an increase in new providers adding their inventory to meet the anticipated demand for the fall and winter travel season ahead.
Luxury travel operator Overseas Leisure Group takes this matter seriously by implementing a resolute series of strict protocols and personal services to ensure those who are renting have the utmost confidence that every detail has been carefully administered. Approximately 70% of its private villa inventory is off-market or exclusive.
As part of its unique concept in villa rental portfolios, clients are also offered a Field Service Manager to act as a full-time concierge who can remain on-site. Additional destination management practices include the following:
- All villas are personally visited by a member of the Overseas Leisure Group management team
- Clients are offered a virtual tour of the property on Zoom prior to signing a contract
- All rentals include remote concierge assistance available 24/7
- Safety protocols are implemented beyond CDC requirements, including deep cleaning services
- All staff use the Entrsafe health screening App (created for Covid-19 prevention) that is exclusive to Overseas Leisure Group
- All staff are tested within 72 hours of arrival by the client
- Private chefs and butlers are vetted by the field service team
- Home or villa rentals include a curated menu of local activities that are private for the group
- On-site or remote concierge assistance includes restaurant recommendations with outdoor or private room dining, as well as the option of grocery stocking for in-home dining
Read More: Travel Daily Media
According to an analysis of recent growth in the Chinese domestic aviation sector by ForwardKeys, in the second week of August, domestic arrivals at Chinese airports reached 86% of 2019 levels and bookings hit 98%, with most travel set for mid to late August.
ForwardKeys believes aggressive price promotions and an increase in domestic aviation capacity at the end of August will help drive figures back up to pre-pandemic levels.
“The crunch question is whether heavy discounting will still be needed to maintain the recovery or whether the industry will return to profitability during the upcoming Golden Week holiday in October.”
The recovery from domestic travel within China offers a glimmer of hope for international outbound travel.
Read More: BBC