December 4, 2022

Eurocean 2004

Life is an adventure

The Year in Review and Looking Forward to 2022, Part 3

CONTINUING our series of contributions from our community – Part 3 of looking back at 2021 (oh, what a year) and forward to 2022 (please, let it be good). And, again from the answers in this batch, there’s cautious optimism for the year ahead, even as the Omricon variant continues to spread alarm across the world and China pursues its Zero Covid policy.

John Brown, CEO, Agoda

Q: Looking back – one word to describe 2021. 
Rollercoaster
Q: One word you wish would disappear from the vocabulary.
Zoom.
Q: One word you wish would be used more.
Travel.
Q: Looking forward – one word to describe 2022. 
Promising.
Q: Looking at your data, how would you describe the start of 2022? 
Cautiously optimistic.
Q: What is your gut, data and guesswork telling you about how the rest of 2022 will pan out?
Some ups and downs, but better overall than 2021 and certainly better than 2020.
Q: What’s the one key thing you’re doing to prepare your business for whatever lies ahead?
Investing in people and tech — we are ready, bring it on.
Q: What is the biggest opportunity for your business in 2022? 
Releasing the pent up global travel demand.
Q:  What part of your job would you like to do more of in 2022? 
Visiting teams around the world and working face to face with them.
Q: On a scale of 1-10, rate how optimistic (10 being most) how you feel about 2022?
8
Q: What’s the one word you’d like to embrace for 2022? 
Face-to-face.
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or watched that you might not have otherwise?
The Beatles – Get Back.  An up-close look at how a deadline, hard work and teamwork come together to produce amazing results. Some talent helps too.

Steve Saxon, Partner, Shenzen, McKinsey & Company

Q: Looking back – one word to describe 2021
Underwhelming
Q: One word you wish would disappear from the vocabulary
Staycation
Q: One word you wish would be used more
Vacation
Q: Looking forward – one word to describe 2022
Domestic
Q: Looking at your data, how would you describe the start of 2022? 
China shows no sign of opening its borders any time soon. Zero COVID is a political victory, is highly popular at home, and very hard to move away from. Leisure travel is not on the cards for some time.
Q: What is your gut, data and guesswork telling you about how the rest of 2022 will pan out?
For China, more sporadic occurrences rapidly locked down and supressed. A border finally reopen with Hong Kong. And, if I’m optimistic, a third wave of vaccination and some opening towards the end of 2022.
Q: What’s the one key thing you’re doing to prepare your business for whatever lies ahead?
Helping travel clients in China tap into the domestic opportunity, as the wealthy stay and spend at home.
Q: What is the biggest opportunity for your business in 2022?
Helping travel clients in China tap into the domestic opportunity, as the wealthy stay and spend at home. And helping travel clients across Asia diversify their sources of tourism to be less dependent on China.
Q:  What part of your job would you like to do more of in 2022?
Exploring the great range of options for domestic travel in China, with my family
Q: On a scale of 1-10, rate how optimistic (10 being most) how you feel about 2022?
6
Q: What’s the one word you’d like to embrace for 2022? 
Reunions
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or watched that you might not have otherwise?
Middle Class Shanghai by Cheng Li

Kerry Healy, Chief Commercial Officer, South East Asia, Japan and South Korea, Accor

Q: Looking back – one word to describe 2021
Colourful – there were certainly some challenging periods but also moments of reflection, modernisation and innovation.
Q: One word you wish would disappear from the vocabulary
New Normal – the hospitality industry simply doesn’t do normal!
Q: One word you wish would be used more
Harmony – with harmony, we can work together to achieve truly great things.
Q: Looking forward – one word to describe 2022
Golden – get ready for a rebound like you’ve never seen before.
Q: Looking at your data, how would you describe the start of 2022?
A period with plenty of bright sparks for those countries that are open. We are witnessing growing demand for destinations such as Thailand and Cambodia. We are cautiously optimistic – new variants can affect consumer confidence, but our stellar year in the Maldives proves that tourism can take place in a safe way when you remove the inbound restrictions.
Q: What is your gut, data and guesswork telling you about how the rest of 2022 will pan out?
High vaccination rates should allow our region to effectively live with COVID-19. This will allow countries to reopen safely with affordable yet sensible entry requirements such as rapid testing at the borders. Hygiene will remain one of the greatest priorities for hotels. We will need to continue looking at how we can attract and retain our talent within this vibrant industry to ensure we can meet the greater demand as people return to travel.
Q: What’s the one key thing you’re doing to prepare your business for whatever lies ahead?
Remaining relevant to domestic markets. Our local residents have allowed us to survive over the last 18 months. The domestic markets will remain a much stronger segment for our industry than prior to the pandemic. We must continue to localise the offerings of our brands to appeal to local residents and remain ever relevant, even as borders reopen to international travellers.
Q: What is the biggest opportunity for your business in 2022?
Welcoming local communities. We pivoted to domestic travellers during COVID-19 but we can continue to evolve our offerings to appeal to those people who live around our hotels. We want to be much more community-centric and ensure our hotels are hubs within the neighbourhoods for culture, food and life.
Q: What part of your job would you like to do more of in 2022?
Travel! I really missed seeing our teams in 2021.
Q: On a scale of 1-10, rate how optimistic (10 being most) how you feel about 2022?
10
Q: What’s the one word you’d like to embrace for 2022?
Flourishing
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or watched that you might not have otherwise?
‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead’ by Brené Brown.

Amit Saberwal, CEO & Founder, RedDoorz

Q: Looking back – one word to describe 2021 
Anxious
Q: One word you wish would disappear from the vocabulary 
Quarantine
Q: One word you wish would be used more
Confirmed ( Booking, Ticket, Room, Holiday, Activity)
Q: Looking forward – one word to describe 2022
Hope
Q: Looking at your data, how would you describe the start of 2022? 
Very encouraging
Q: What is your gut, data and guesswork telling you about how the rest of 2022 will pan out?
Will be fine. 2nd half would beat 2019 run rate
Q: What’s the one key thing you’re doing to prepare your business for whatever lies ahead?
Investment in growth areas
Q: What is the biggest opportunity for your business in 2022?
Domestic travel and adoption of technology by small hotels
Q:  What part of your job would you like to do more of in 2022?
Travel and meet people, visit offices, investors and generally connect
Q: On a scale of 1-10, rate how optimistic (10 being most) how you feel about 2022?
8
Q: What’s the one word you’d like to embrace for 2022? 
Adaptable 
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or watched that you might not have otherwise?
12 peaks – documentary on human grit

James Marshall, Vice President, Global Transport Services, Expedia Group

Q: Looking back – one word to describe 2021
“Hope” (after 2020 being “Grit”)
Q: One word you wish would disappear from the vocabulary
COVID
Q: One word you wish would be used more
Enjoy
Q: Looking forward – one word to describe 2022
Rediscovery
Q: Looking at your data, how would you describe the start of 2022?  Cautiously optimistic
Q: What is your gut, data and guesswork telling you about how the rest of 2022 will pan out?
There will be a few false starts, or back & forth,  but the direction is set ahead.
Q: What’s the one key thing you’re doing to prepare your business for whatever lies ahead?

Strengthen & support our people so that they can be ready for what’s next to support partners and travellers.
Q: What is the biggest opportunity for your business in 2022? “Sustainable” travel (if such a thing really can exist) and community impact travel
Q:  What part of your job would you like to do more of in 2022?
Meet partners
Q: On a scale of 1-10, rate how optimistic (10 being most) how you feel about 2022?
8
Q: What’s the one word you’d like to embrace for 2022? 
Connections (for travellers and between partners)
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or watched that you might not have otherwise?

The Baztan Trilogy and other dark crime thrillers, and re-read Factfulness, by Hans Rosling. Actually the full title is “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think”  – says it all!

Featured image: Getty Images