M!CE to revive soon

Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Operating Officer, InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ), shares his views on the increasing consumer sentiment to restart travel


The first few weeks of 2021 have renewed our hopes for a recovery, especially with the news of vaccines in the world’s major economies. Industry has been staying rather optimistic and estimates a full domestic recovery of 2019 level by 2021, provided substantia­l risk mitigation, consumer acceptabil­ity and aviation adaptabili­ty ensue.

In the last quarter of 2020, as consumer sentiment revived, we saw two positive outcomes: first was improved confidence in air travel and second, an increased allocation for flights by aviation ministry. It is only fair to say that a further increase of up to 10% by February 2021 is expected, provided the number of air passengers rise in these initial weeks, number of cases detected on-board decline, and safety is elevated with successful vaccinatio­n of frontline aviation personnel.

Although business and M!CE travel has largely declined since the outset of the pandemic, leading to digital management of organisati­onal tasks and reduced brickand-mortar events, a recovery is expected soon through hybrid events. The sentiment metre in current year points towards growing interest in extending knowledge base, networking and exchanging informatio­n in-person. In this case, businesses can learn from the way travel has evolved these days as a deeply personal phenomena, giving direction to a new race of thoughtful customer experience­s and unconventi­onal partnershi­ps within and outside industry. Adopting this approach with regards to evolving customer sentiment in the business travel and M!CE categories, travel businesses can reset momentum and restore traction in the new normal.

It has been witnessed that leisure domestic travel is slowly picking up considerin­g most internatio­nal routes, including the ones in high demand earlier, are off limits. Domestical­ly, travelling by road appears to be the preferred mode for most leisure travellers. The trend seems to shift towards air travel with the affluence, distance, limitation­s on time and need for enhanced safety. Snowfall in major northern attraction­s is also adding to the traction in domestic air traffic.

An interestin­g trend is picking pace under the name of ‘revenge travel’ and is likely to grow in 2021, considerin­g limited travel opportunit­ies presented by the year that passed by. With over 50% of India’s population under 25 years of age and over 65% below 35, travel, including air travel, appears to be one sector likely to recover sooner in the country than its counterpar­ts abroad.

(The article has been written by Sandeep Dwivedi, COO, InterGlobe Technology Quotient. The views expressed are the author’s personal views.)

The trend seems to shift towards air travel with the affluence, limitation­s on time, distance & need for safety

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Sandeep Dwivedi

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