Tourism Recovery Townhall series, is a digital virtual platform, to provide a unique opportunity to governments around the world, their tourism leaders on the frontline of the recovery from COVID 19, heads of Tourism boards as well as CVBs, to talk about and share their country’s experience with the crisis, and now their winning strategies to come out of them, their challenges, as well as their winning formula to rise and recover once again.
World Tourism Forum Institute CEO Sumaira Isaacs addressed President of Maritz Global Events David Peckinpaugh in the 7th Edition of the World Tourism Forum Town Hall series.
David Peckinpaugh addressed that the tourism industry is a crystal ball made of glass. There are moments of clarity, colorful moments, and moments of darkness. We feel the worst of it right now. There is no specific period to recover this situation. This is one of the frustrations we have to deal with for the upcoming 6 to 12 months.
He highlighted steps taken by Maritz Global Events and said, starting from February, they turned their events from face to face to digital design. This has been very successful and helping their numerous clients through a transition as they were ready to figüre out what digital looks like. He added that there would be hybrid components in the future, which means a mix of face-to-face and digital design. Face to face will be here for an extended time, and the digital will undoubtedly become a part of it.
“In our recovery path, creating a sense of an environment that is healthy and safe is very important. It will start with the airlines, which is very important for our industry. I have been very impressed by the precautions they take. On the other hand, as Maritz Global Events, we try to focus as much as on data. We rely on a couple of sources such as WHO, CDC, and our data. We are a significant buyer of hotel rooms with 4.5 Million room nights a year. We are a pretty good indicator of what’s going on and what the customer behavior looks like. We are also partner with one of the biggest online booking engines, which means we are also connected to their data, TSA statistics, and direct online statistics. These are the main sources we have. And now, we see the sense of recovery. TSA visitation is up; airlines see a spike in air travel domestically. Hotels are announcing reopenings. Airlines and hotels are releasing their new health and safety protocols. There is no doubt that international travel will be affected for some time. We foresee a recovery in quarter 2 or 3 of 2021”.
He highlighted that for short to mid-term, there would be a touchless hotel experience. You will register with your device, go to a room with a safety seal on. This will be our new reality and will create a sense of safety. In safety standards, two organizations will take the lead: AHLA (American Hotel Lodging Association) and EIC (Events Industry Council). AHLA and EIC will provide us with the best practices and protocols we are looking forward to.
Talking about his leadership model, Peckinpaugh commented that: “My approach is balance. We have a calling survey every day, and I use this to answer questions and address broader issues. I try to keep the balance between good and bad news. Up to this point, we have been talking about the situation. Starting from tomorrow, I will talk about recovery. What does recovery look like? How do we need to position our company as the recovery begins? We will focus on how we will look like when we come out of it? All in all, this is the reality right now, but we have to look at the future brightly.”