Here’s looking at you, 2021, Part 1: Mixed start, “time to claw back lost ground”

WE kick off the year with a gathering of views and opinions from our community of industry leaders on their outlook for 2021, from their levels of optimism and their plans to get through the year. Here’s the first collection.

Rajesh Magow, CEO and co-founder, MakeMyTrip

Q: How would you describe the start of 2021? 

Promising, with the vaccine rollout finally

Q: What is your data telling you about the first quarter?

Revival of travel sentiment for leisure segment at least in the domestic travel market. Early signs of ‘revenge travel’ as well. 

Q: What is your gut, data and guesswork telling you about how 2021 will
pan out?
2021 is the year travel will begin to claw back lost ground. Uneven
recovery initially – domestic leading the way followed by international towards
second half. Business travel pie might shrink a bit, thanks to online meetings
and work from home trends; likely to come back fully in 2022 when Covid cloud
is finally blown away with majority of world population vaccinated.

Q: What are you telling your teams/partners?

@Team: Having navigated the 2020 well together, the worst may be behind
us. Stay positive to witness us emerge even stronger once we are out of it
totally.
@Partners: We are in it together. There is a need to collaborate even more
strongly.

Q: Who do you fear for the most in our industry?

Airlines and hotel partners with weak balance sheets, and heart goes out
to people losing lobs.

Q: What’s the one key thing you’re doing to prepare your business for
whatever lies ahead?

For this down cycle, manage costs well and don’t let cash reserves go
below the threshold.

Q: What is the biggest opportunity for your business?

Online buying behaviour gaining momentum.

Q: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest), how much are you pinning your
hopes on the vaccine saving travel
?

8 for the sheer sentiment change for international travel. For domestic
travel, just 3 or 4 to help open up business travel fully, other segments have
already recovered without the vaccine following other safety protocols. 

Q: On a scale of 1-10, rate how optimistic (10 being most) how you feel
about 2021?

6 –
cautiously optimistic first half, more optimistic second half or last quarter
of 2021

Ross Veitch, CEO & co-founder, Wego

Q: How would you describe the start of 2021?

Significant step-up from Q4

Q: What is your data telling you about the first quarter?

Booking levels are now at 40% YoY

Q: What is your gut, data and guesswork telling you about how 2021 will pan out?

By December bookings will be back to 2019 levels.

Q: What are you telling your teams/partners?

Things are looking good for a recovery over 2021 but we need to
remain flexible and ready for a wide range of scenarios 

Q: Who do you fear for the most in our industry?

Workers who have been cut lose without the benefit of a safety net 

Q: