John Latimer, our VP of Travel, has been around the travel block a time or two. His best advice? Remember that this, too, shall pass.
Your answer is probably a big no. However, there will come a time when you will be ready. It could be within the next six months or the next eighteen months, but history tells us a trip somewhere will still be on a true traveler’s bucket list. My experience in the travel industry is a changeable one, so I thought I’d share some of the more notable events I’ve witnessed:
1968 – Hong Kong Flu Pandemic
I had just started a position as an airline ticket agent with Qantas in London. The Hong Kong Flu Pandemic saw over 1 million deaths worldwide, and about 100,000 in the United States. It was the first pandemic spread by mass air travel. There was no lockdown, and I issued one or two tickets a day compared to dozens a day.
The pandemic led to the recession of 1969 to 1970.
1973 to 1975 – Gas Shortage
I was working as an airline Sales Representative in London. We all remember the hours waiting in line to buy gasoline. Airlines raised rates to offset the enormous price increases in fuel, and travel took a huge hit.
1981 – Airline Deregulation
I was with Braniff Airlines, and the airline decided to take advantage of the deregulation to increase its global reach. Deregulation completely changed the airline industry forever and set the stage for the disintermediation of travel agents. What ensued was complete chaos for the next ten years.
1981 to 1982 – Oil Crisis
The prime interest rate hit 21.5%. If anyone had money, which very few did, it went into money market accounts that were paying huge yields. The cost of borrowing plus airline deregulation created enormous problems for the travel industry at large, with the demise of several airlines, including Braniff—and with it, my job.
2001 – 9/11
The fateful day of 9/11 hit the travel business hard due to anxiety and fear of traveling. The DotCom bubble bursting that proceeded 9/11 had already triggered a recession. This, followed by the Afghanistan war and the Iraqi war, caused international travel to plummet.
2007 to 2009 – The Great Recession
The sub-prime mortgage crisis caused most consumers to cancel their travel plans.
2009 to 2010 – Swine Flu Pandemic
While the Swine Flu pandemic didn’t materialize as was expected to be the killer of millions, it did cause many people to change their travel habits, especially to Mexico, where it originated.
The bottom line is that after each break in the demand for travel, people soon started traveling again. Anxiety and fear will affect as never before, but we will all be ready at some time to be on the move again. According to an article in Longwods International, COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study-Wave 7, 82% of American travelers have changed their travel plans for the next six months. When asked how travelers will change their plans because of the pandemic, 50% said they would cancel trips, and 45% said they would travel in the next six months.
If you are thinking of traveling within the next two years, now might be the time to make your arrangements. There are many great deals out there and all with a “book with confidence” clause. If you would like to be in the know for these offers and take advantage of low prices, let me know by calling me at 800-568-8994.