HTS Highlights: Niche Travel Markets
As travel becomes increasingly more difficult to understand during the current crisis we are in, there are many travel niches that have proved to be the saviors of consumers. People will always have a desire to travel and continually are looking for the safest way to get out and enjoy themselves. Jeff Gayduk sits down with four industry insiders that have their own foot in a niche travel market and explains how they have been continuing business as well as what has changed.
Nancy Schretter is the founder and president of The Beacon Group, whose goals and the market is travel but more specifically family-oriented trips along with groups. During the current crisis we are in, it has become increasingly frowned upon and harder to be going on vacations as it is a huge risk. But a big trend Nancy is seeing is the rise of road trips, especially within families in order to create a bubble to where they will ensure their safety. Options such as national parks, camping, RV trips, AirBnbs, and ranches have risen rapidly in popularity and become the hot trends in travel. Another key point Nancy brought up is that it is not too late to book trips for upcoming holidays, there are still a lot of hot deals on travel going on and it’s always good to plan ahead of time.
The next speaker was Keith Snode COO of Kaleidoscope Adventures, a company that focuses on the middle to high school students and getting trips planned through the school. In terms of how trips are being planned during COVID-19, they essentially are not according to Keith. It has become increasingly difficult to get trips approved by school boards, and Keith is on the side of not focusing on extracurricular trips and rather putting all the focus on just getting schools open and running. Kaleidoscope has started putting more of its focus on groups they know they can work with, such as the homeschool community, groups within the school, and the schools that are smaller such as drama clubs, bands, and art clubs. As well as groups outside of school like youth and church groups that may be looking to go on local trips. This is due to there being no school board in which a trip would have to be approved. Overall Keith and his team are hopeful for the future and looking at all their options to get up and running again.
Alexander Gloss is the CEO of China i2i Group which is based in Shanghai China. Being located in Shanghai has allowed Alexander to have a really unique insight and viewpoint on the travel industry and the entire COVID-19 crisis. Being able to hear and understand how China is doing relative to North America gives other companies an upper hand and what to expect or change. At the moment there is no international travel going on in China, yet domestic travel has exploded. This was due to cheap deals, and airlines giving almost free tickets to those looking to travel. Business in China for Alexander and China i2i has gone essentially back to normal, because of this Gloss says there is hope for other countries and to just look to the future. This viewpoint has shown us that people will always want to travel and the desire for travel has not slowed. It has instead given the power to a lot of the niche travel markets.
The last speaker was Jason Clement founder and CEO of The Sports Facilities Management which has created a network of helping clients achieve whatever goals they set related to sports facilities. Focusing both on the youth and amateur markets of sports. The Sports Facilities Management has 20 facilities across 16 states, which has had its own problems for Jason. Because of the regulations being different from state to state it has Jason having to work around 16 different governors guidelines and creating plans and strategies that work for each state. Sports have had a large impact on the traveling market with many sports teams starting their seasons back up and fans as well as players looking to start up again. National events have proved to be much harder for Jason to start up but local outdoor events have been affirming that things are going to work out.