Travel Industry Recovery

Goals

To inform a larger understanding of the recovery of the global travel industry as markets begin to reopen by determining how travel industry organizations are viewing a potential recovery in the wake of COVID-19 and what initiatives they are implementing to work towards sales recovery (e.g., marketing strategies, collaborations, new products/offerings). Ideally, this analysis will be provided separately by sub-sector (e.g., aviation, hospitality, tourist attractions), by region and for domestic vs. international travel.

Early Findings

United Airlines

Expectations for Industry Recovery

  • United Airlines President Scott Kirby indicated during the company's most recent (first quarter) earnings call in late April 2020 that the airline is anticipating "no near-term sign of improvement" for the airline industry.
  • However, on a more positive note, Mr. Kirby stated that the airline is seeing more searches on its website for travel starting in the spring of 2021.
  • As such, United Airlines is preparing for "net zero passenger revenues" for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
  • Meanwhile, Mr. Kirby asserts that two key factors must be addressed in order for airline demand to rebound: (1) travelers need to "feel safe" on planes and (2) they need to have someplace to go or some reason to travel.

Recovery Response

  • Despite this less than optimistic forecast for overall airline industry recovery, United Airlines has taken a more moderate approach than some of its competitors in adjusting to demand.
  • For example, the airline has continued to "temporarily park" aircraft rather than retiring parts of its fleet (in contrast to American Airlines and Delta).
  • More recently, United Airlines announced in June 2020 that it will also increase its flight schedules in July to about 25% of normal.
  • Additionally, the airline is increasing its flight schedule to 48% of normal for the month of August.
  • Meanwhile, United Airlines has been slightly behind its competitors in launching new initiatives to induce customer demand.
  • Although the airline strengthened its onboard mask policy this past June 2020 to place all travelers who are not in compliance on a restriction list, the airline continues to resist calls to block middle seats to facilitate social distancing.

Other Notes

  • In addition to a public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address the stated goals of this research.

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