Travel

How the travel and food industries can benefit each other in a post-pandemic world

Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of HotelPlanner, lives and breathes travel. He launched HotelPlanner.com in 2003, at the height of the dot-com era, after a casual conversation over a beer about what was at the time the biggest problem for travelers when booking hotels.

Fast forward to today, the travel technology company is one of the world’s leading facilitators of individual, group and corporate bookings, specializing in negotiated group rates for hotels, extensions of stay and more for everything from weddings to sporting events. This booking empire offers a global portfolio of over 50,000 hotels and continues to thrive despite massive travel setbacks due to Covid.

Despite the fact that the number of trips in the world has decreased, HotelPlanner, oddly enough, not only continued to receive calls from customers, but also more than in previous years. In response, Hentschel decided to launch a global travel agent booking platform where remote agents can take customer calls from anywhere, anytime. This way, customers can interact with real people rather than chatbots or pre-bookings.

Hentschel currently lives in Singapore but has traveled extensively over the past few months, including long stays in Manila for the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit and in New York for the New York University Hospitality Investment Conference, where he was the speaker.

“As we emerged from the pandemic, the biggest hurdle to travel now remains the ever-changing, complex and confusing Covid tests, vaccine documentation, and quarantine requirements between countries, especially in the Asia-Pacific region,” Hentschel explains.

“In terms of food travel, in Asia-Pacific, restaurants and bars continue to be the most negatively impacted by Covid, given that they are about a year behind in their recovery compared to the rest of the world. However, in Europe and America, most people have returned to crowded bars and restaurants without masks. In a room of 100 people, you can only see a few people who are still wearing masks.”

Based on all of his recent travel experiences, we spoke with Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of HotelPlanner, about all things travel, including how it’s been affected by Covid and practical advice for the average traveler; how the tourism and food industries can strengthen each other in a recovering post-pandemic world; silver lining and more. That’s what he had to say.

Do you think the differences in Covid restrictions are a deterrent? What do you think is deterring the average traveler from going abroad right now?

Absolutely. In the Asia-Pacific region, there are many citizens who simply do not travel until it becomes much easier between countries. Europe is now starting to really take off with EU travel and is likely to have a busy summer travel season and August holiday season. In addition to 40 years of high inflation and about 20%…

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