Booking.com’s Arjan Dijk on Post-pandemic Travel – The Drum


The Drum interviews Arjan Dijk, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Booking.com, the leading online travel brand, on the evolving playbook for travel markets across the globe, the role that marketing will play in the reboot and the trends being seen in two of the largest markets: India and China.

Excerpt from The Drum

The Drum interviews Arjan Dijk, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Booking.com, the leading online travel brand, on the evolving playbook for travel markets across the globe, the role that marketing will play in the reboot and the trends being seen in two of the largest markets: India and China.

On the future of travel and the traveling consumer

The pandemic has brought international travel to a standstill as countries tightened travel restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. A full recovery for the travel industry will take years, not quarters and when we do emerge from this global pandemic, the world and our industry will undoubtedly be different. The good thing is that travel will remain fundamental to people’s lives.

The financial legacy of Coronavirus is such that it will inevitably see people demand more bang-for-their-buck from the travel industry. The new narrative will have to be around deeper value, better choice, increased flexibility and transparency as well as more thoughtful experiences for tomorrow’s travelers as they scrutinize spend in 2021 and beyond.

On the shifting consumer preferences

The resurgence of domestic travel: Even as international travel remains extremely depressed with recovery depending on relaxing of the government restrictions, travellers have been turning to domestic travel which has been seeing huge demand and buoyancy.

Preference for alternative accommodations: Covid-19 has accelerated the trend towards travellers choosing alternative accommodations, with an increasing preference for short term rentals. The interest in alternative accommodations will continue in the longer term, especially given working-from-home trends and increased focus/appetite on health and privacy. As per data, there was an increase in the mix of customers booking alternative accommodations in 2020, as compared to the previous year, with alternative accommodations representing about 30% of all reported room nights.

On varying stages of recovery across markets

The recovery has been nuanced and fluctuates widely in both Asian and Western markets. It is still a long road ahead to recovery. From a consumer perspective, the appreciation for local travel – alongside longer haul whenever it returns – will endure into the future, with nearly half of travellers planning to travel within their own country in the next year.

All markets across the world have had to prioritize the health and safety of their citizens alongside their economic growth. The impact of Covid-19 is unprecedented, and the situation remains highly unpredictable. Regardless of which regions the markets are in, the ones that have been the most successful in containing the virus are those with wide vaccine distribution, proper government measures and responsible social distancing restrictions in place.

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May 23, 2021 at 08:39AM

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