How can you protect value in Travel & Tourism?

Pent-up demand for global travel

Travel operators are preparing for a busy summer, fuelled by an accumulation of demand from leisure customers and business travellers. Though global tourism is still a far cry from pre-pandemic levels, it rose by 4% in 2021, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Barometer. Moreover, almost two-thirds of tourism professionals predict greater gains in 2022, despite concerns over new COVID-19 variants and inflationary pressure on disposable income.


The recovery timeline

Given that travel and tourism likely won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 at the earliest, it is important for carriers and operators to understand the staggered nature of the recovery and adapt to it. Matching supply and demand is a balancing act, which must be underpinned by smart analytics to manage cash flow and scale workforce and service capacity.


The pandemic itself created opportunity or increased business

Short term

Business is already beginning to bounce-back

Medium term

Recovery will happen but more slowly

Long term

Industry needs to be restructured to generate effective recovery

Customer attributes (age, affluence, reason to travel) i

Customer attributes can include age, affluence, and reason to travel. The younger and more affluent segments are beginning to bounce back, with a slower recovery in the older and less affluent segments. The corporate segment will be a long term recovery.

  • Younger
  • More affluent
  • Older
  • Less affluent
  • Corporate
Travel type (domestic or international) i

The pandemic increased business for domestic travel, while the short haul is only beginning to return and long haul travel is seeing a slower recovery.

  • Domestic
  • Short haul
  • Long haul
Destination type (remote/rural vs tourist hot spot or city) i

Remote or rural travel is starting to recover as people feel more comfortable traveling to less populated destinations. Cities and tourist destinations, like beaches, take longer to recover with the higher number of people and closer proximity.

  • Remote
  • Beach
  • City
Group size (people travelling alone or as a group) i

Independent travel is likely to recover more quickly, as people remain hesitant to travel in groups. Conferences and events, with large groups and gatherings of people, will need to be revisited in order to effectively recover.

  • Independent
  • Group
  • Conferences and events
Mode of travel (land, sea or air) i

Traveling by road became a preferred method of travel during the pandemic because people could choose those in close proximity. Modes of travel that require travelers to be near each, such as rail, air and cruises, will take longer to recover.

  • Road
  • Rail
  • Air
  • Cruise
Accommodation type (size and format of accommodation) i

Self-catering and small format accommodations that allow travelers to socially distance are beginning to recover. Recovery will happen for hotels and large format accommodations, but will take more time.

  • Self-catering
  • Small format
  • Hotels
  • Large format

The ripple effect

It is not just the airlines, hotels and car-hire companies that are affected by border closures and unfavourable market conditions. There are a lot of businesses relying on the same consumers, and their need for investment support is often overlooked. If you have a stake in this interconnected industry, consider the value-preservation levers shown below, which could help your company survive and recover.

  • Cruise lines
  • Tour operators
  • Hotels
  • Travel/online agents
  • Airlines
  • Logistics operators
  • Car hire companies
  • Car parks
  • Airport lounges
  • Visa processors
  • Leisure attractions
  • Airports
  • Retail
  • VAT-reclaim companies
  • Hospitality
  • Conferences & events

How can you create value amid disruption? Use a value bridge.

For companies surrounded by economic uncertainty mixed with a competitive surge of deals worldwide, creating value is a real challenge. A value bridge can be used to identify actions that can prevent value loss and preserve value in times of disruption, while also strengthening your company's competitive positioning to help it come out ahead.

Learn more about Value Creation

Value levers

Enterprise value

Value Creation

Full potential value

What levers can you pull to preserve value?

Matching portfolio to demand

As travel markets adapt to a ‘new normal,’ a robust portfolio review is necessary in order to optimise operations, sharpen focus on core activities, and consider divestment or retrenchment in others. For those companies with funding, it may be the right time to pick up distressed assets.

Greener growth

Ensuring that Travel & Tourism has a positive impact on the natural environment is a complex and growing priority in the industry. Amid developing regulatory requirements and an increasing focus on sustainability by consumers, setting ESG (environmental, social and governance) targets and building the capabilities to track and report performance are important—and often overlooked—value levers.

Managing cash flow

A laser-like focus on liquidity must continue, and that includes making the most of your working capital. As travel bookings return, securing financing to fund growth should also be a priority. In current market conditions, this may call for additional debt, equity investments or strategic disposals.

Being agile in turbulent times

In travel markets that are increasingly defined by new rules and disruption, it is imperative to understand where customers are migrating and build your organisation’s reactivity to short shifts in demand. Robust data-driven reporting will enable a fast response to changes and prevent profit leakage.

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Contact us

David Trunkfield

David Trunkfield

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Eleanor Scott

Eleanor Scott

Director, Strategy& Travel & Leisure, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7748 965165

Heather  Swanston

Heather Swanston

Global Business Restructuring Services Leader, Partner, PwC Japan