The Corona pandemic has posed major challenges on the tourism industry worldwide. Therefore, Dr. Fried & Partner and the Travel Industry Club asked at the end of 2020 how things will go in the medium term and carried out a corresponding scenario analysis. Result: A “metamorphosis” of the industry was seen as the most likely scenario. Almost six months later, Dr. Fried & Partner has now carried out a study on the status quo of the industry development to determine how the travel industry has dealt with this period of standstill and whether it has made use of it.
In this blog series we look at the different areas that the study focuses on and provide insights into results and conclusions.
The survey accompanying the study, which was carried out in cooperation with the Travel Industry Club and in which over 300 industry experts participated, took place from 19 April to 5 May 2021. Over 50 percent of the participants are managing directors or owners. In addition, the sample consists mainly of the segments of tour operators, travel sales, accommodation, IT and data companies as well as consultants.
This article focuses on the question of how extensively companies experienced changes in the area of employees. A scale from 1 (very extensive changes) to 5 (no changes at all) was used to determine how comprehensively the digitality of the employees has developed, whether New Work models and new collaboration and communication approaches have been introduced and how extensively employees support the changes. Compared to all the other areas covered, the most comprehensive changes can clearly be seen in the employees’ environment.
The illustration clearly shows that employees support the changes (rating: 2.10) and that they have developed further, especially regarding their digitality (rating: 2.29). Many companies switched to working from home and some employees worked remotely for months – even in companies where work from home was not common before. In this context, models have been established in which teams alternate between working from home or in the office. However, it became clear that personal exchange will also be of great importance in the future and must therefore also be an important component for future New Work models.
While some companies were already equipped for “work from home”, others upgraded at short notice – both in terms of hardware and software. Due to the increased use of digital devices and media, the digitality of employees has also developed further or experienced a boost. This was also promoted through targeted training and digital workshops. Despite short-time work in many companies, employees have developed further, have become more affine towards digital topics, have advanced new approaches themselves and support the digitisation of processes.
As already mentioned, many companies had to upgrade to enable remote work. The survey shows that new collaboration and communication approaches have been established in many companies (rating: 2.39) and, in some cases, New Work models have also been introduced (rating: 2.50). Tools like MS Teams or Zoom have experienced a real boost from the pandemic and virtual meeting formats, workshops and team events have become the norm. As a result, the collaboration in many companies became more agile and working hours more flexible. Even if these developments were already indicated before COVID-19, they have now accelerated considerably.
When asked whether new business models or activities outside of the tourism industry were initiated in the wake of the Corona pandemic, 28 percent of the experts answered “yes”.
While some from the tourism industry have established test centres, vaccination hotlines and other approaches in the direct context of the pandemic, others have entered the consulting environment. Other areas in which tourism experts became active in range from retail and eCommerce to healthcare, the real estate industry and the education and science sector to activities in the NGO environment. Further scattered activities were also mentioned.
The Travel Industry Club is opinion, network, and future. This is where the makers and movers of the travel industry meet, and together the future of tourism is thought out independently. This is where complex future topics are discussed, and ideas are developed – and all of this with a view of the bigger picture. In addition, the Travel Industry Club puts the economic importance of the travel industry in the spotlight of the public, media and politics and brings young talents together with the leading players of the industry through the initiative “Young TIC”.