Suffice it to say that most of America took a collective sigh of relief with the exciting, promising news of at least two Covid-19 vaccines reporting 90%-plus efficacy rates — with release and distribution in the United States perhaps before the end of this year. Hallelujah seems about right!
So, how will the vaccines impact, direct and change your Strategic Success Plan for 2021?
Looking down the road is never easy or guaranteed — and given the tenuous Covid situation yet, the economic pain it’s brought millions, the politicization of masks and a new administration — projecting 2021 ain’t easy. But we’re gonna give it a try:
- STAY STRONG AND STAY SAFE. The first few months of 2021 aren’t going to be much different from today. Vaccine distribution will be very limited, the pandemic numbers are going to get worse before they get better, and long distance travel may be difficult or risky, including the mandatory quarantines that by themselves eliminate a certain percentage of travelers who simply can’t quarantine upon their return to home and work. So continue to stress health and safety protocols while providing aspirational messaging. One without the other is a fail.
- IT’S OKAY TO PEEK. When will the pandemic slow? Will a national mask mandate be enacted, and will it help? When will the effects of wider vaccine distribution begin to be seen in our new normal? The experts are suggesting that upwards of 60% of Americans could be vaccinated by May or June. If that’s the case, start looking ahead now for opportunities to reach your guests and prospects with creative, tempting offers — and launching those sometime late in Q1.
- THE MAD DASH. Assuming again that all goes well (how about praying that all goes well?), the almost-volcanic pent-up demand for travel will erupt as soon as the country is in a good position and we’ve returned as closely as possible to the old normal. If that’s as early as mid- to late-summer, we expect travel to be robust through the rest of 2021 and 2022. Our advice is to wait and watch — the Covid crisis will remain fluid, but if it settles well, you won’t need any discounts or special offers to satisfy the desire to explore and enjoy.
The landscape is about to change with (hopefully) effective and widely distributed vaccines. Stay tuned.
NOISE is founded in travel and tourism, serving more than 100 clients across 25 industry categories, while winning more than 500 industry awards and media praise.