Travel is ‘roaring back’ — but the industry might not be ready for a boom
Last year wasn’t a stellar year for travelers. Perhaps that’s why so many are pinning their hopes on 2022.
Travel bookings and inquiries are surging, say travel insiders, in an upward trajectory that, if realized, may both benefit and challenge travelers in the coming year.
‘People want to make up for lost time’
Travel in 2022 will be even busier than before the pandemic, said Brandon Berkson, the founder of the New York-based travel company Hotels Above Par.
“People want to make up for lost time,” he said, adding that potential customers have stated their desire to travel next year is greater than ever before.
Ben Drew, president of the TripAdvisor-owned travel company Viator, said in December that the demand for upcoming travel is “extraordinary.”
“Travel came roaring back,” he said. “Even in the face of omicron, travelers are booking more experiences than at this time in pre-pandemic 2019.”
Viator’s 2022 data shows bookings are also increasing from summer to fall, a time when travel typically slows down.
While acknowledging 2022 may “come with challenges,” Drew said he expects it to be “a chapter of resilience, resurgence and growth for the travel industry.”
Is the industry ready?
While news of a business boom is likely music to the beleaguered travel industry’s ears, it could be problematic if it happens too quickly, said Manoj Chacko, executive vice president of the business management company WNS.
“The speed and force of demand could catch some travel industry players off guard,” he said. “Airlines, for instance, could struggle to re-hire pilots. Moreover, pilots might need additional training and skill refresher programs.”
Airlines aren’t the only part of the travel sector that may struggle to hire staff this year.