The Washington Post introduced me to a new term this morning called “revenge travel.” I think it applies to me…
Are You Ready For Revenge Travel?
Like many of you, I had all sorts of trips planned this year. I was going to Algeria, Bhutan, Greenland, Libya, Mongolia, Nepal, Syria, and Tunisia. The year got off to a great start, with many trips in January, February, and early March. Then the pandemic hit and I have not stepped foot outside the country in five months. Domestically, I stayed home for a few months before an opportunity arose for a private jet trip in June. Last week, I took my first trip on United and was only gone about 24 hours…I did not even stay in a hotel, sleeping on a redeye flight instead to minimize time away from home.
“Revenge travel” is a term used to capture the pent-up demand over travel. Some analysts are predicting that leisure travel will come roaring back very quickly once people are comfortable flying again (through the availability of widespread testing or a vaccine).
The term is borrowed from China, where the concept of “revenge spending” emerged in the 1980s in response to years of repressed demand that had been caused by the Cultural Revolution. But retailers in China are reporting a similar phenomenon today as stores re-open after months of shutdown.
A McKinsey analyst told The Post that both leisure and business domestic air travel in China has bounced back to 60-70% of pre-crisis levels. An accompanying report states:
“This is significantly driven by people being comfortable with traveling and the perception that there may be a low risk of infection when flying.”
Meanwhile, recent polling in the USA demonstrates Americans are more anxious to travel than ever before. While they may not be booking right now, they are planning. This is intensified by the fact that travel has taken on a new meaning, as people are anxious not to escape the monotony of office life, but to escape what many feel is the prison of their homes.
I picture “revenge travel” like a dam that overflows. Travel will return and do so with great force. It will probably do so suddenly, hopefully when the pandemic situation improves but eventually regardless of whether it improves (at least for lower-risk groups). I will engage in revenge travel, as I have a lot of ground to make up for the last several months.
Will you engage in “revenge travel” at your first opportunity?