While the future of travel remains uncertain, that hasn’t stopped industry experts from making predictions and shedding insight into how companies can adapt to meet the current times. At the recent The New Travel conference, which took place from June 22nd – 26th, hotel executives, travel agents, and journalists joined forces to further the conference’s goal of “helping the travel industry recover from the coronavirus.”
We had many of our clients participate in the conference, which took place entirely over Zoom, and our agency also hosted a session on social media best practices for C-Suite executives. The format lent itself nicely to concise discussions. There were clear start and end times for the panels, which forced the panelists to focus on their most important tips and anecdotes.
It’s difficult to recap a week’s worth of insights, especially given the thought and detail that went into curating the panels and presentations. Because of this, we polled the team at Hawkins International and have outlined some of their top takeaways below.
I was impressed with how energized all of the hoteliers from around the globe were about reopening their hotels and how generous each presenter was about sharing their protocols and procedures around what they are doing as they pivot to reopen. I consistently heard, yet wasn’t surprised, that private and wellness travel are driving a lot of the current travel business. I also got the sense that everyone was just happy to see one another and reconnect. People in the hospitality industry are inherently social and personable, so I think the forum for seeing everyone, albeit virtually, gave a real boost of morale and provided a connection to industry colleagues and friends that everyone needed. – Jennifer Hawkins, CEO of Hawkins International
It was so energizing to come together with travel experts and enthusiasts from around the world! While it’s certainly true that travel and hospitality will look much different in this new travel landscape, The New Travel Conference proved that the industry is ready to evolve and continue to delight travelers seeking their next adventure. – Catherine Colford, Managing Director of Maverick Creative
It was a rare opportunity during these uncertain times to hear from a wide range of industry representatives who were very open and generous with their knowledge, experience, and predictions for the future of travel. The format, which featured panelists from around the world, made us all feel just a little bit closer during this extended period of seclusion, and reignited a traveling spark that has me dreaming of vacations to come. – Carli Vierke, Maverick Creative
My favorite panel touched on the future of luxury cruising, and a quote from Chris Austin, Seabourn Cruise Line’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, stayed with me. He made the observation that “we have a lot of dreamers, a lot of planners, and now some bookers, and hopefully in the near future we’ll have some travelers. We’re working hard to do everything we can for our guests.” – Emily Shearburn, Senior Social Media Strategist at Hawkins International
I was honored to attend The New Travel conference. What amazed me the most was how willing potential competitive brands were to share key learnings and best practices with one another during this uncertain time. It is a true testament to how resilient our beautiful travel industry is. Everyone who attended and participated in the conference shared helpful insights to face the current climate and also shared their love of the industry. You could tell that the team involved in producing this event worked very hard to make it run as seamlessly as possible – what a refreshing and encouraging webinar! – Natalie Wayt, Account Supervisor at Hawkins International
It was so refreshing to see fellow industry professionals be so optimistic about the return of travel, and eager to share what their properties are doing to ensure that avid explorers all over the globe feel comfortable jetting off to make the acquaintance of new destinations again. For a lot of us, it feels like a piece of us is missing while we’re grounded in your own little corner of the world. I loved hearing shifted perspectives about how, while discovering foreign locales will always be an integral part of what it means to be a traveler, there are so many jewels just waiting to shine closer to home – and it’s our job to make sure that they get the attention they deserve. – Valérie Vaillancourt, Social Media Strategist at Hawkins International
These quotes truly illustrate that camaraderie and passion are alive and well in the travel industry. It was refreshing to see industry leaders come together to support and inspire each other.
Following the conference, the New Travel Conference team launched a #TravelBecause social media campaign to highlight the many reasons that travel is important. Although the messages will be varied, the campaign has one unifying goal: to get travelers excited about venturing back out into the world. No matter the size of your social media audience, we encourage you to get involved, and you can find post examples here, here and here.