How do we navigate these strange recessionary times, even as we are overwhelmed with demand for a blockbuster year so far and a summer travel crush coming?
That in essence is this disorienting time of hope and caution in the travel industry, and the big question all of us are facing: do we continue to push for growth in a time of record demand OR do we push the brakes as every other sector and larger economies are grinding to a halt?
This is unprecedented this time around because travel usually is the leading indicator of recessionary challenges, but the opposite is happening now. How do we navigate these times, particularly from now until fall? Surely this sustained high inflation and reduced personal stock or retirement portfolios could turn this voracious pent-up demand south pretty quickly, right? The Airbnb CEO and the Marriott CEO don’t see a recession in travel coming. But American travelers are now, for the first time, saying that financial factors trump health and safety worries when it comes to travel decision-making.
I don’t know the answer, so on Wednesday I did a short 10-minute video trying to put my arms around this, for the travel industry and indeed for our own business at Skift as well. And posted it on my social feeds where I got lots of responses, watch the video below and see all the responses on LinkedIn here. The gist of answers I got: things could get hairy in fall, so proceed summer as is, have a cautionary eye after.
It is a question we at Skift, a media information company completely dependent on the travel industry, are facing as well: 2021 was our most profitable year ever, thanks to the discipline with which we have made a comeback compared to the horrendous 2020 for us and everyone else in the travel sector. Should we continue to hire for new positions, expand our business and continue to look at M&A? Or should we conserve cash? It is live in my head.
I am posting some of the responses I got, below:
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