A Perfect Storm
Remember George Clooney’s 2000 blockbuster, The Perfect Storm, where 3 separate storm fronts converge into one? The current coronavirus pandemic now feels like the perfect storm in real life – the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), SARS, and the Ansett collapse all into one.
To help us rationalise a way through COVID-19 let’s review the lessons learned from each of those moments in history.
The GFC in 2008/9 –a mortgage lending crisis in one country became a global recession that dramatically demonstrated the interconnectivity of our global marketplace. Apart from the obvious lessons of regulatory oversight, this period demonstrated the importance of diversifying your business across different client industries, destinations, travel purposes and budgets. While recovery was slow for many industries, efficiencies and automation were brought into businesses and the market bounced back.
The SARS pandemic in 2003 – has been considered the most relevant comparison for a global health crisis, yet was still largely restricted to the APAC region, meaning travel was limited, but still operational. Corporates enacted a travel freeze, typically lasting three months, then necessary travel picked up slowly for the next three-four months before the more risk-averse started recognising it was safe to travel. Then the market made up for lost time with a surge in corporate and leisure travel.
The Ansett collapse in 2002 – having two national carriers in Australia proved to be one too many, and the collapse of Ansett sent ripples through many areas of Australian life, taking years to overcome. New regulatory and compliance measures were put in place, and we saw the rise of Virgin Blue which eventually transformed into Virgin Australia. We have witnessed the impact of no competition on an airline carrier and if the past is anything to go on, Australia will not go back to the days of a single carrier. What form they’ll take remains to be seen.
In all of these scenarios, platforms like tramada® were sought out to help manage the crisis from a travel agency perspective, and Tramada Systems remains today a partner that agencies can rely on. Having been cloud-based since 2001, tramada is the perfect at-home companion for agents working away from the office – who knows, working remotely may become the new normal post-COVID-19.
From these three independent storm fronts, the blueprint for travel industry recovery is there. The only question is one of timelines. And it’s a big question, but the more we all cooperate with isolation, social distancing, handwashing and generally preventing the spread, the sooner we will all be back on track and travelling. We may be leaner, but we’ll be stronger. History has proven this.