There is no denying it – the COVID-19 pandemic inspired a global shift that very few of us saw coming, ushering in a period that was affectionately (and later, tirelessly) referred to as the new normal. For the better part of two years, the public stayed home, donned masks, limited social contact, traded in-person meetings for Zoom meetings, postponed events and celebrations, and, en masse, canceled travel plans for the foreseeable future.
While the global economy was under immense pressure with each passing lockdown and new restrictions, few industries were more gravely impacted than travel and tourism. Seemingly overnight, a bustling landscape rife with wanderlust and promise of culture, exploration, and escape came to a grinding halt, with no guarantee of a timely return to normal. Airport terminals and hotels fell uncharacteristically quiet as hospitality professionals questioned what the future had in store for their beloved industry. Now, finally, as the world takes what seems to be a collective breath, we find ourselves slowly emerging – ever cautiously – from the pandemic’s wake. Around the world, industries are coming back to life, and, in hospitality, the appetite for travel has returned with a vengeance. Hotels are finally ready to rebuild and recover, and, to do so, hospitality brands must identify (and better yet, understand) the post-pandemic trends which will define this new landscape.