In France, the state of the travel industry in 2020/21 is a complicated affair.
After experiencing two nationwide lockdowns in May 2020 (55 days) and October 2020 (45 days), the French government put in place a strict national nighttime curfew since December 2020. From February 2021, new rules banning flights to and from countries outside the E.U came into force restricting travel once again to urgent personal or family business, a health emergency or work-related voyages.
While all of this may feel disheartening, and means travelers are likely grounded through much of the first semester of 2021, there are hopes for recovery across the travel industry heading into the summer months if the vaccine can be widely administrated and the number of cases begins to trend downward this spring. Although nobody knows exactly what will happen, one thing is clear: the long-lasting effects of a global pandemic will affect the way French people will travel …at least for the foreseeable future.
Even amidst a crisis, current data can give us helpful insights into how the French people feel about travelling at home and abroad, and how we in the tourism industry can best support and reassure tourists as we head into a new era of travel.
Our boutique travel and lifestyle agency spotlights our PR agency partner, Lesley Joan Williamson, chief executive officer, Lesley Joan Williamson PR & Communications based in France, and her insights as it pertains to the French travel market.
1. The French are craving vacations more than ever
French people usually enjoy five weeks of paid vacations annually and in 2020, they spent a total of 2400 hours in lockdown fantasizing and daydreaming about holidays. The frustration is real. According to a survey* conducted by Yougov for the French Home Exchange in February 2021, not being able to plan vacations at the moment is morally one of the hardest things for 36 percent of the French.
A trend confirmed by people over 55 years old, who are 60 percent to feel this way. The most difficult thing for the French people surveyed still remains not spending time with their family and friends (53 percent). Everything related to leisure time is rather upseting. Not being able to go to a bar or restaurant is a heartbreak for 41 percent of them, not being able to move around freely on a daily basis is also among the most difficult things (37 percent) in the current health crisis.
As seen in 2020 as soon as the First Minister’s speech lifted travel restrictions, the French were on the hunt for places to go for a breath of fresh air. A crave to travel and get away from it all yes, but also a strong awareness to reduce their COVID-19 exposure. After a year with a lot of time spent at home on video calls or binge-watching TV, the French will not give up on their vacations despite of Covid19. But in the context of the current crisis, they will be slightly different again this year….
2. New hopes for the summer
Vacation plans until May are now being put off. According to the Home Exchange study, 58 percent will not travel during the spring vacations because of the uncertainty of governmental regulations and health concerns for half of them. Most are already focused on summer.
According to an online survey conducted by Abritel** this time, 19 percent of French families plan their first vacation of the year in France between April and June 2021. For 45 percent of French families, their first vacation of the year in France will occur between July and September. Only 13 percent of families do not see themselves going on vacation in France before 2022. Overall, 68 percent of families are confident that they will travel on a family vacation in 2021, even though 34 percent of these same families say they are confident while remaining cautious, again according to the Abritel study.
3. Hopes that the vaccine will gradually change the situation
If Covid19 has settled in our lives for a year now, hindering all travel plans, there are hopes in the travel industry that the situation will gradually evolve with the deployment of vaccination campaigns. According to the study conducted by Abritel, 41 percent of French families say the announcement of a vaccine positively impacted their decision to plan a vacation in 2021.
Indeed, 22 percent of French families felt reassured by the upcoming vaccination. In fact, 19 percent immediately began researching future trips after the vaccine was announced. However, 31 percent indicated that they were still reluctant to schedule vacations because of persistent uncertainties (lockdowns, travel restrictions, etc.). 17 percent said the announcement of a vaccine had no effect on them because they did not trust it.
In the short period of time the French were able to travel in 2020 (June until September), domestic travel spiked in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. Different factors explain this trend: the government encouraging domestic travel in the short term to help boost France’s economy, concerns about quarantine measures, uncertainty over the financial future of the travel companies that people book with, a loss of confidence in the travel industry and fears of traveling far from home for sanitary reasons.
5. International Tourism: not before 2022?
Covid19’s travel restrictions have drawn new maps for French travelers who are being more strategic about where they venture out. For those fortunate to travel internationally, we have seen a huge increase of interest in far-flung French islands such as La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, Tahiti or the Caribbean Martinique and Guadeloupe ( + 100 000 pax in December 2020) which has led to a closure of borders for non-essential travel in February 2021. An increasing interest in less traveled destinations with no travel ban has also emerged for countries like Kenya, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico for a few privileged travelers.
For tourism professionals, restoring safety and confidence is the main challenge. 34 percent of French travelers closely follow data and information on the progress of vaccination in each country, to get an idea of the situation on the ground. Almost as many (31 percent of families) want a clear and realistic timeline from the government on potential travel restrictions and/or where it is/will be possible to leave from. 27 percent of respondents say that they expect above all flexible cancellation policies from tourism operators to organize their vacations with confidence.
As for going abroad again, French families are more cautious as only 27 percent consider traveling between July and September. According to the Abritel study, 27 percent anticipate it will not be possible to leave the country before 2022. Figures once again predict the perspective of a French staycation summer like 2020 while people are waiting for a real visibility on international travel.
If vaccination against Covid-19 is a condition to travel to certain destinations, 45 percent of families said they would be willing to do so either because they intend to be vaccinated anyway (24 percent) or because they want to do so to be allowed to travel (21 percent). However, 22 percent of families are still waiting and prefer to see how it goes for others before taking a decision. Finally, some refuse the idea of a mandatory vaccination for travel (10 percent), even if it means having to choose another destination.
*Study carried out among 1032 people representative of the French population (18+) via an online survey conducted on French territory from February 9 to 10, 2021.
**The online survey was carried out by Atomik Research among 1503 parents (18+) in France from 15 to 19 January 2021 who have children up to the age of 15 and who have travelled as a family over the last five years.
By Lesley Joan Williamson, chief executive officer, Lesley Joan Williamson PR & Communications, based in France and Allen Marketing Communications, Inc's partner agency
Whether you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, freelancer, or solopreneur, there may come a time when you need to assemble a team of workers in order to grow your business and gain the exposure you need to succeed.
And if you don’t have a physical office location for your business — or you’re looking to save money on operating costs — your best bet will be to hire a virtual team of workers. Allen Marketing Communications, a boutique NYC travel and lifestyle PR agency, shares a five-step process of assembling and managing a team of remote workers, so read on to begin!
Think About Your Business Needs
The first step to assembling a team of remote workers is to think about your business goals and the types of help you’ll need in order to achieve them. Are you looking to hire employees or contractors to work remotely for your company? Which skills, abilities, and characteristics are you looking for in your remote workers? Workers with the following characteristics are essential when growing a small business.
And while the specific types of positions you’ll be hiring for will depend on the nature of your business, several key roles include the product manager, marketer, accountant, human resource manager, and sales representative. Be sure to think about your business wants and needs before beginning to recruit and interview candidates.
Look for Funding
Once you’ve identified your needs, it’ll be time to think about how you’re going to pay your team of workers. If you’re just starting a business, you may consider hiring an unpaid intern — or you could save money by hiring a part-time employee or independent contractor. You may also be able to save by setting up your business as a limited liability company. Not only will you gain tax advantages, but you can shield yourself from potential litigation as well. Forming an LLC will take 2 hours tops when you use a formation service to file your business documents with the state.
Look for Remote Workers
Once you’ve secured the funding you need to pay your workers and have identified the types of positions you’re looking to fill, you’ll finally be ready to start assembling your remote team. Zapier offers some tips on finding and hiring the best workers for virtual teams — or you can begin your search by using online job boards like Upwork, Toptal, and Freelancer.com.
Invest in the Right Tech
Next, you’ll need to invest in the right remote work tools to ensure that you and your team will be able to communicate and collaborate from afar.
The following tools can help:
Manage Your Team from Afar
After you’ve assembled your virtual team of workers, you’ll need to learn how to best manage them from afar. And while it may take some time to get the hang of it, set boundaries and guidelines early on, remain flexible with your team, and keep meetings short and to the point. Kathy Gurchiek of SHRM also recommends asking each worker about his or her preferred communication style, whether it’s email, instant messaging, phone calls, or video chatting.
Once you’ve completed these five steps to assembling and managing a team of remote workers, you’ll be on your way to achieving business growth and success.
Our talented team of travel and lifestyle public relations professionals are here to help. Give us a call.
Guest post: Tina Martin, Life Coach, Inspired Ideas
Photo credit: Unsplash
The food industry has embraced novel ways of doing business and even pivoted their business model during an era of social distancing, lock downs and reduced capacities at food establishments. Individual packaged meals, salads and cupcakes will enable friends, families and colleagues to gather safely indoors to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestone events.
Research shows "online grocery sales tripled during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic as food retailers ramped up an already growing ecommerce business." (Source: The Food Industry Association.) The online grocery sales are forecasted to grow this year as we emerge from the corona virus epidemic.
Allen Marketing Communications, inc., a boutique food and beverage public relations agency, stays of abreast of current industry trends. Here's what's trending in the food industry for 2021.
The corona virus epidemic inspired many individuals to eat healthier and to incorporate food items to boost one's immunity naturally. Plant-based foods will continue to be all the rave in 2021 as more individuals experiment a vegan lifestyle and to reap the health benefits for incorporating plant-based items into our diet.
Research shows a vegan diet is rich in nutrients derived from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. A vegan diet has been shown to reduce blood sugar level for those suffering with diabetes, as well as helps to reduce the risks for heart disease, breast, prostate and colon cancers.
Plant-based milk - oat milk, almond milk, soy milk and pea milk -- have exploded during recent years. In fact, vegan meat alternatives are appearing on menus for some fast food restaurants and there is even talk about a plant-based fish entering the food market.
Zoom calls have become the new normal during this COVID-19 pandemic. Food enthusiasts will continue to embrace virtual cooking classes with celebrity chefs or with local restaurateurs..
Food lovers are experimenting with exotic spices to add a new twists to favorite food items. Also, aspiring chefs will also explore making homemade pasta as we emerge from this epidemic.
Take and bake meal kits are a novel way for restaurant owners to pivot, stay afloat and generate an income during a period of reduced indoor dining capacity and take-out restrictions on the restaurant industry. Basically, restaurants provide customers with pre-packaged and pre-made meal kits and the customer just needs to bake the items at home and then serve.
During this corona virus epidemic, Tik Tok is emerging as an influential social media platform for socially conscious consumers to engage and connect with small businesses and restaurant owners. Tik Tok presents a platform for consumers to get to know the faces behind the brands through innovative, behind the scenes videos.
“It’s important to establish a connection with a business, its owners, and its team, especially during these tough times. Consumers want to support small and local businesses to keep their communities intact, as those businesses are the hardest hit during COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions," according to Real Simple.
Instagram and Facebook are very important to build brand loyal customers. It is important to post two to three times or more a week to engage first time and repeat customers. It is important to post content as it pertains to your brand's CDC health protocols.
Our food and beverage public relations professionals are here to help. Give us a call.
By Joanna Allen, chief executive officer, Allen Marketing Communications, Inc.