The Ghosts of Crises Past, Present, and Future
By Doug Gollan Editor-in-Chief & Founder, DG Amazing Experiences - Private Jet Card Comparisons | June 28, 2020
For many of us who have been around in the travel industry long enough to have some gray hair, we recall the Great Recession of 2008, the double hit of the Dot Com Bubble and 9/11, the Asian financial crisis, and the first Gulf War in 1991. All of these events temporarily traumatized and challenged the travel industry, sending some sectors, more than others, into panic mode.
Yet, no matter how dire the situation seemed at the time, each sector eventually recovered, and in some cases, they came back stronger! That may be nice to hear but almost certainly offers a small amount of comfort when one is the middle of a storm-revenues are plummeting, collections are in arrears, cash-on-hand is dwindling, employees are being laid-off or furloughed, access to more capital is limited or closed altogether, and monthly expenses are mounting alongside unpaid bills.
For me, the past informs my business decisions and my outlook, and I'm in a more confident position this time around. As a small owner-operated media company serving the private jet card and, by association, the hotel & hospitality industry, we were born out of lessons learned from the past. We are a solely digital enterprise and already work remotely. We also are cross-trained, operating more efficiently and making good use of the gig economy: the era of having personal assistants or corporate IT support to figure out what's wrong with a computer has been replaced by help lines, outsourcing, and trips to the Genius Bar at a local Apple store, before the stores shut down, that is.
It helps that both DG Amazing Experiences, our weekly e-newsletter to private jet owners and Private Jet Card Comparisons, our buyer's guide to private jet membership programs, are both targeted to the Ultra High Net Worth market. It became clear early on that the Coronavirus doesn't discriminate and, as such, the behaviors of this coveted demographic, like with all other demographic groups, has changed.
Almost three months in, still, we're seeing a continuation of seismic drop in trips to luxury hotels and resorts by these individuals. Holidays are being replaced by private flights to evacuate family and business associates, while taking trips to second homes. The exodus from cities to beach resort towns and country escapes continues. Summerlike swells in population have overtaken many of these communities, in most cases before local business owners have staffed up to handle the surge.
Almost immediately after news of the Pandemic's early effects and warnings broke, we sent a flash survey to our subscribers asking them how the crisis is impacting their immediate private travel plans as well as their plans for the next 90 to 120 days. As well, since most of these folks are considered influencers, both professionally and in their personal lives, we were curious to know where they believe things might net out for the year as compared to what they had been expecting beforehand.