William McIntyre, Regional Director, Africa, Radisson Hotel Group, said that what gives South Africa an added advantage as a winter destination, is that it offers beautiful weather and experiences any time of the year.
"The mild daytime temperatures during winter offer a pleasant change to the scorching summer sun. This makes winter a perfect time to explore the country," he said.
He shares 8 winter travel trends for 2021:
Flexible booking policies
When travellers had to postpone or cancel their bookings last year, many hotels and airlines waived cancellation policies as the industry ground to a halt amid Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. The uncertainty that the pandemic sparked has left many travellers still concerned about losing deposits on future travel plans.
“They’re more likely to book with a hotel or airline that will allow them to change their travel dates without incurring penalties, giving them that extra level of confidence as they begin venturing out and about again,” said McIntyre.
Bye Zoom. Conferences make a comeback
Zoom enjoyed overnight success at the start of lockdowns, but Zoom fatigue quickly became widespread as people began missing the human connection of face-to-face interaction. Now that restrictions have eased, corporates are reinstituting business travel and even hosting meetings and conferences. Traditional conferencing is making a strong comeback, with Joburg leading with conferencing bookings.
Due to the impact of the virus, many households tightened their budgets. Budget constraints also mean that many travellers opt for destinations closer to home to keep travel costs low. Staycations cut the expense of fuel or flight tickets considerably, allowing travellers to spend money on activities and meals instead.
With the rise of remote working, employees can work from anywhere in the world. Workcations give them the power to enjoy a destination while staying productive.
After months of cooking at home or eating takeaways, more people are opting to dine out. Due to social distancing rules, restaurants may only serve about half the number of usual guests, but that doesn’t mean anyone needs to miss out on a fantastic meal. Make bookings in advance and visit new and unusual dining spots.
With Covid-19 known to spread in confined, crowded spaces, travellers seek more remote, less populated destinations where they are less likely to encounter the usual holiday crowds.
They’re venturing away from travel hot spots and heading out of town to less well-known areas instead – making this an ideal time for out-of-the-way destinations to advertise what they have to offer.
Travellers have become much more spontaneous over the last year, and this trend is set to continue throughout the winter months. The uncertainties driven by Covid-19 have translated to much more impulsive travel planning, including family getaways.
People have probably never been more aware of the importance of maintaining their physical and mental wellness. Lockdown and self-isolation for large portions of last year, the uncertainty around employment, and a host of other factors sent stress levels spiralling.
When travel wasn’t permitted, people found ways to manage their mental stress at home. Since restrictions have eased, visiting a spa – whether for a few hours or a few days – and indulging in massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, has become popular.
“What better way to relax and de-stress than in a calm, tranquil environment designed to invoke peace?” McIntyre said.