Recommend reached out to Gerardo Tejado, general manager meetings and events at American Express Global Business Travel to get his insights about a post-COVID-19 world.
Andrea Doyle (AD): How will COVID-19 change the travel industry?
Gerardo Tejado (GT): Traveler health and safety will be the focus of most companies and their employees for the foreseeable future. In the early days of recovery, travel suppliers such as hotels and event venues will likely adopt new safety policies that are subject to change with evolving government regulations and guidelines. Digital communication channels, such as smartphone apps and instant messaging, will be go-to sources for event attendees and travelers, and they will rely on them to get frequently updated and detailed information on event expectations and guidelines.
Countries could also stagger the opening of their borders and leave quarantine measures in place for an extended period of time based on infection potential and population vulnerabilities. This could affect event participation levels, presenter availability, and ultimately event costs. Both suppliers and MICE professionals will have to be creative in integrating virtual participation with live audiences and catering to multiple attendee profiles.
(AD): What will the new normal look like?
(GT): We are actively exploring this question with both clients and suppliers, as we will have to collectively define what the new normal will be. A lot will depend on current travel policies and local economies and vary based on country, supplier, and customer.
(AD): How will dining change?
(GT): With respect to dining, we’ve begun discussing with our customers transitioning away from traditional buffet dining and considering alternative approaches. That could mean more organized, plated, seated meals, where attendees won’t necessarily be in close proximity and aren’t reaching over one another to fill their plates.
(AD): Will disinfecting take on added importance?
(GT): I would expect so, we’ve already seen many suppliers, including hotels and airlines, highlighting their cleaning protocols so that the public is aware of their safety processes.