While Hawaii travel may not be soaring physically at the moment, stocks say it is about to. Big time. Word earlier today that an effective vaccine could become widely available next year has resulted in a huge and immediate boon for the Hawaii travel industry. Hawaiian Airlines stock for example at the time of publishing is up nearly 50% today! The bellwether’s stock is the single most important barometer of Hawaii travel sentiment. That comes as other travel stocks are also up hugely as visitors become poised to resume Hawaii travel after taking time off since early this year. There is obviously a much larger than expected pent-up demand for Hawaii vacations.
So what will Hawaii travel be like between now and then, and thereafter?
First, travel will likely never be the same as pre-COVID. That’s becoming readily apparent to everyone. Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald, whose company is a think tank on aging, said, “In the past few months, the entire world has had a near-death experience. We’ve been forced to stop and think: I could die, or someone I love could die. When those events happen, people think about what matters and what they will do differently.”
And so it will be with travel. For the foreseeable future, we will all, by desire or requirement, be taking additional risk avoidance measures on Hawaii vacations. Mask wearing ‘may’ continue to be the norm for the next couple of years since not everyone will be vaccinated.
For Hawaii travelers, age 60 and above, who make up 15% of all island visitors, Dr. Mehrdad Ayati, Stanford University School of Medicine and adviser to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging said, “What we never calculated was that a pandemic could totally change the dialogue.”
How Hawaii travel will directly benefit.
At least until we are much further along, US domestic travel is set to largely replace foreign travel. After all, your health insurance works here, and you can simply better control everything while in the U.S. Hawaii also uniquely brings many of the exotic aspects of international travel home to a safer domestic paradigm.
Premium class will grow.
Those who have had the ability to choose how to spend their travel dollars may now more frequently than before spend some of that money to get more room and have further distance from fellow passengers.
BOH tip: When that isn’t possible to go First/Business, one trick that we’ve written about before and use ourselves is to buy three seats for two passengers, instead of two. With more $99 airfares ahead, that makes more sense than ever.
Hawaii travel will market health and safety as commodities.
Hawaii hotels and Hawaii vacation rental companies have already begun to advertise their safety protocols and that will expand exponentially to include access to medical and more. The marketing messaging here includes we clean more, we disinfect more, we have more access to health services, and therefore, at the end of the day, we offer you a better, safer choice. We predict more growth in vacation rentals too since they allow you to limit your exposure to others.
Hawaii cruises are set to resume.
Taking health and safety to a new level will be cruise ships, which will necessarily focus on complete medical care and comfort. What will become of the mega cruise ships? Will smaller ships be more what consumers resonate with or will the hospital-like capabilities of mega-ships be more attractive.
NCL’s all-Hawaii cruise has extended its service suspension until 2021. That further delay is needed to allow time to prepare the ship to meet the new government health measures and requirements recently announced concerning resuming sailing.
Hawaii dining will market safety too.
Expect Hawaii’s restaurants to bring to your attention all that they do to provide a healthy environment. You’ll see those people who provide cleaning and disinfecting services to be prominently featured, in much the way a host would have been before all this began.
Restrooms won’t be left out of changes.
We can be assured of almost universal no-touch doors, sinks, and toilets wherever in Hawaii you go.
Beat of Hawaii © photo along the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail on Kauai.