At this point, it’s clear that the world is headed towards a global recession. Covid19 proved itself to be much more serious than people anticipated. As expected, the industries most likely to take a hit are those related to tourism and hospitality. Experts long anticipated that a pandemic like Coronavirus can have a negative impact on websites like TripAdvisor. It seems like they have been completely right.
To make matters worse, this virus managed to spread across Europe. A continent long famous for its tourism potential is now closing its borders and suspending virtually all tourist activity. It’s unclear how the situation will progress in the future when it comes to the rest of the world but so far the things are not looking good. Many are putting their hopes in a new vaccine but most optimistic predictions claim that it will be at least 6 – 8 months before it’s available to the public. Realistic prediction state it will be at least 1 year.
So, will it have a strong negative impact on TripAdvisor?
Unfortunately, it seems that it will. As their stocks continue to tumble, the company’s CEO, Steve Kaufer, had no other choice but to withdraw the 2020 Financial Outlook of the company. Even though they stated in their company’s shareholder letter on 12. February that they “observed a limited impact” on their business, things have changed. In March, they were forced to face the grim reality. Kaufer gave this statement regarding the new situation:
We observed a limited impact on our business from the COVID-19 outbreak. In the ensuing weeks, that impact grew significantly as the outbreak has spread and, in March, year-over-year performance trends have substantially worsened versus trends we observed in February.
However, he ended his statement on a somewhat upbeat note. He stressed that TripAdvisor is capable of surviving this turbulent period and has managed to do it in the past:
While the COVID-19 outbreak’s full impacts are still to be determined, the travel and tourism industry has recovered from past disruptions. At Tripadvisor, we have successfully navigated these disruptions, and we will continue to operate prudently through this challenging period.
Is this the end of TripAdvisor?
Not likely. During hard times, people tend to catastrophize. It’s just human nature. However, humanity fought and won against many pandemics in its history, some far worse than Coronavirus. Far from being destroyed, tourism and hospitality industries only grew in the meantime. They will bounce back as they always do and with them, all the industries built around catering to them. If this was an internal problem in TripAdvisor or a matter of their competition surpassing them, it would be far more serious.
However, as TripAdvisor and its all competitors are in the same boat it seems more likely that they will recover as soon as the crisis ends. Data derived from TripAdvisor will most definitely continue to be extremely important in the following years. People are not going to stop traveling for good because of this temporary pandemic. No one can say for sure but its reasonable to expect that, as long as companies that profit from tourism stay afloat, they will manage to pull through and recover. As serious this situation undeniably is, humanity will recover as it always did.