Brazil’s first in-depth survey of both the travel trade and travelers—taking into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic—suggests that, once a market recovery begins to take effect, Brazilian travelers are likely to favor regional destinations before spreading out internationally. Travel suppliers, meanwhile, will have to tread gently in wooing customers, with brand loyalty playing an integral part in persuading consumers to travel again.
The above is a quick take on the first TRVL LAB—a new analytical project just launched by PANROTAS, the Brazilian travel trade publisher and event producer— and MAPIE, a leading hospitality and travel consulting firm which is based in Paraná, Curitaba, about 250 miles south of São Paulo.
The first TRVL LAB report was originally planned to launch March 17-18 at the PANROTAS Forum, which is a “must-attend” industry event held each year in São Paulo. But the Forum has been postponed until September 9-10. So, the TRVL LAB team went back into the field with the intention augmenting and updating their work in order to provide all interesting parties with their deep-dig research into the subject—conducted as the COVID-19 pandemic is taking place.
Researchers conducted two—one with 300 travelers and the other with 325 travel and tourism professionals. The results are open to all interested parties, said the report, “as we know that at this moment the analyzed and grounded information is very important in decision-making and planning for the future.”
Following are some of the key findings of the two surveys: (Note: We have rounded percentages to the nearest percentage point, and have occasionally change the language in some parts—it was a Google translation from Portuguese—for clarity.)
And when will we travel again? “What can be observed in concrete terms is that clients need to feel confident in controlling the disease before resuming their travels”, analyzes MAPIE director Carolina Sass de Haro. “This is also a delicate moment for brands, as consumers are attentive to the actions taken and the care shown by them in relation to customers and employees.”
The COVID-19 Impact—First Off:
—55 percent of travelers say they had planned and/or purchased trips that were impacted by the new coronavirus pandemic.
—45 percent are/were still waiting for the next developments to make a decision on what to do.
—When there is a decision, the preference is for the change to a future date to 31.82.
Who is most impacted by travel cancellations? In general, the entire tourism chain was impacted for changes or cancellations Service providers services most contacted by travelers were airlines (37.20%), followed by the media (24.91%) and by operators and travel agencies traditional travel (13.65%)
Importance of Brands: Most respondents fully agree with the statement that brands that encourage their customers to stay at home are responsible. In addition, 51 percent say they will stop buy from brands that have not treated customers/employees of adequately during the crisis.
What about international travel? International travel tends to remain affected after the resumption, since 61 percent affirming that they do not intend to return to international travel until that there is confidence in the control of the pandemic. This one number drops to 45 percent when it comes to national travel.
For most respondents, their travel budget was reduced in 2020. For 33 percent it remains the same and for 10 percent, nothing.
What about the travel trade? When it comes to companies, the vast majority are first dedicated to managing cancellations and markings (77 percent). Then, it was time to take care of team health and organize for the new conditions (35 percent), followed by cost and flow analysis of cash for the coming months (34 percent).
The vast majority of respondent companies still did not lay off. Only 3½ percent dismissed more than half 50 of their staff. In addition, 49 percent reduced their working hours and remuneration of their teams.
Almost four out of five (79 percent) of the companies have 100 percent of their team working in a home office. Three-fifths (60 percent) indicated that there are positive and negative points in this format, which will impact the business in the post-crisis.
About the relationship with brands: Most respondents fully agree with the statement that brands that
encourage their customers to stay at home are responsible. In addition:
—51 percent say that they will stop buying from brands which have not treated customers/employees during the crisis.
—42 percent read the comments of other customers on social networks to understand their perceptions.
—34 percent consider that brands are being human in the face of difficulties presented by the pandemic; and
—35 percent feel that the brands are concerned with their customers.
—Despite the difficult times, 36 percent keep an eye on promotions and opportunities.
—In contrast, 28 percent considered it inappropriate to receive promotions and commercial actions
in this period.
—Solidarity is also important in this period: 22 were encouraged to contribute in some way with the accompanying brands and 21 percent effectively contributed.
About the intention to travel:
—International travel tends to remain affected after the resumption, since 60 percent say that they do not intend to return to international travel until there is confidence in pandemic control. This number drops to 45 percent when it comes to national travel.
—32 percent are unable to decide at this time about future trips.
—23 percent say they have full confidence in Tourism service providers to return to
travel as soon as the isolation is over; 28 percent say they have partial confidence; and only 7 percent
they say they have no confidence at all.
—22 percent don’t mind traveling for work when the isolation is over. 21 percent totally disagree with this statement; 16 percent know they will have to travel for work when the isolation is over, but they wouldn’t like it.
—Family travel does not seem to be one of the first actions that will be popular when the isolation is over.
About the travel budget:
—For most respondents, their travel budget was reduced in 2020. For 33 percent, it remains the same and for 20 percent, it ceased to exist.
—For 45 percent, it was reduced.
—For 33 percent, remains the same.
—For 20 percent, it does not exist anymore.
— For 3 percent, it Increased.
Desired Destinations for Resumption
|Destination||Percentage Desiring It|
|Rio de Janeiro||9%|
|Another part of the United States||5%|
|Caribbean and / or Mexico||2%|
More on How the Trade Reacted:
—At first, the vast majority (77 percent) of companies were first dedicated to managing cancellations and markings.
—Then, it was time to take care of the health of the team and organize the new working conditions (35 percent),
—Followed by cost and cash flow analysis for the next months (34 percent).
It was time for the following:
—Manage cancellations and bookings, 77 percent.
—Caring for the health of the team, organizing home office, vacation and layoffs, 35 percent.
—Analyze costs, cash flow and take actions for the next months, 34 percent
—Repatriate passengers, 21 percent
—Trying to follow operations normally 12 percent.
—The vast majority of respondent companies had not yet made any layoffs.
—Only 3.48 percent dismissed more than 50 percent of the staff. In addition, 49 percent reduced the
working hours and the remuneration of their teams.
About home offices:
—79 percent of the companies have 100 percent of the team working in home office.
—60 percent say that there are positive and negative points in this format, which will impact the business in the post-crisis.
“It is a delicate and difficult time for everyone, and tourism has been hit hard. Now is the time to act, guarantee the sustainability of the business, the jobs of the employees and, above all, the health of all of us. TRVL LAB was born at a time of enormous challenges for the industry and we hope to help each of you with this information,” explained PANROTAS CEO, José Guilherme Alcorta.
Click here for the complete PANROTAS article on the survey.