As vaccines roll out worldwide, industry leaders are already looking ahead to the coming travel boom and making their plans to welcome back guests. But things will be far from ‘back to normal’. Travelers will be placing a new premium on their personal security, and expect their airlines, hotels, and service providers to go above and beyond to guarantee a safe and peaceful trip.

To find out how the travel and hospitality industries are prepping for the return of business and leisure travel, we spoke to Jennifer Hawkins, Founder and President of Hawkins International, a leading travel and tourism PR agency based in New York, working with some of the world’s biggest names in the industry.

Listen to the full interview on Spotify below and subscribe to our podcast.

Surviving 2020: The Art of the Pivot

There’s no getting around what the brutal year 2020 was for travel and hospitality. After a record year in 2019, with 1.5 billion tourist arrivals, the sudden halt brought on by the pandemic was a blow to the industry around the world. In spite of this, Hawkins believes there is a lot of tenacity and fortitude among people that work in the travel and hospitality industries, who are dedicated to getting the industry back on its feet after COVID-19.

“It’s forced a lot of businesses to rethink their businesses, pivot their business models, and get really good – really quickly at communications,” said Hawkins.

The difference between those who survived and others who went a step further was often a reflection of their ability to leverage the creativity of their workforce and offer authentic, safe, and engaging experiences for their guests. Companies started to find new opportunities to keep their businesses afloat in unorthodox ways, such as venues offering online yoga classes, virtual star-gazing sessions, online cooking classes, and even cocktail making parties!

Watch the full interview

Innovation Born Out Of Necessity

Closing our chat, Hawkins pointed to the fact that the best success stories from the past year share a common theme: those that thought outside the box in a time of necessity created some of the most innovative solutions. In fact, thinking ‘outside’ in general will continue to be a boon for any location that has the capacity.

“Hotels will do well if they can take advantage of any outdoor space they have even post-pandemic. After a year of being cooped inside, people are really appreciating having nature around them, and it’s good for the soul” said Hawkins.

Thank you to Jennifer for sharing her insights with us! If you’d like to find out more about Hawkins PR, read their annual Lexicon report which has just come out here.

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