Live and Let’s Fly is ready to go full-on ‘revenge travel’. After being stuck home, he’s out traveling and wants to do so with a vengeance. It’s as though the very act of traveling makes a statement that we may be down briefly, but we won’t give in, we’ll return stronger than ever – travel as a revolutionary act of defiance against the scourge of the global pandemic.
There’s an angsty new term to describe this apparent pent-up demand: “revenge travel.” And lately, many industry insiders are talking about the sinister-sounding buzzword.
…That restless mood has many pro travelers and experts predicting revenge travelers could bring back leisure tourism with a bang — though others caution revenge may not be as sweet as we’d like.
The idea of ‘pent up demand’ isn’t new. The most hopeful point to a resurgence in travel in China, which has its viral flare ups but isn’t nearly as affected by the virus today as the United States. However in China capacity far outstrips demand and airlines are dumping seats cheap. The government is pushing state-backed carriers into the air with excess capacity.
Travel in the U.S. isn’t likely to come back as quickly as in China. When it does, though, everyone’s going to be excited about it. We’ve spent more staycationing not at local hotels but in our own homes. We’ve binged more Netflix, eaten more dinners at our own tables, and rolled over vacation time if our employers would let us.
So we’ll do more of the travel in the future that we’ve been denied in the past. We won’t do double the travel a year from now, making up for a lost year of travel plus the amount we’d have normally done. But we’ll have fewer of those meals at home, less Netflix, since we’ve already covered 2020’s and 2021‘s in those categories.
We’ve binged on one set of activities we can do while we’re home, and do less of it in the future while doing more of things we had been denied (or denied ourselves). You can call it ‘revenge travel’ I’ll just call it intertemporal substitution.
The thing is though that no matter what you call it, it’s not going to turn back on like a light switch,
- The existence of a first-generation vaccine won’t likely be a silver bullet
- Different countries will open at different times, and with different requirements
- Business travel won’t be back as quickly as leisure travel
- Hotels and airlines will be slow to re-invest in product after deep losses.
So travel will come back more slowly than many expect even if some of the demand that does materialize once people feel safe to travel, are permitted to travel freely, and have the funds to travel will be driven by a desire to ‘get back out there’… with a vengeance.