The Herman Trend Alert|
November 14, 2001
Travel Will Change
In response to the September 11 terrorist attack involving American commercial aviation, many citizens around the world are understandably reluctant to fly. Changes in attitudes about security and comfort will stimulate significant and substantial shifts in how we travel.
Corporate leaders and sales professionals will continue to travel as necessary to conduct business. The wheels of commerce will not be stopped; there is too much at stake to ignore the importance of staying in touch with customers, suppliers, and alliance partners. Most business travel will use air transportation, though we will see some movement from commercial to corporate or leased aircraft. The heavy promotion of the time-share leased aircraft industry will now will pay off. Since many of these private flying services use alternative airports such as Dallas' Love Field, there will be customer-responsive changes in ground transport services to support them.
For shorter trips, executives and salespeople will use automobiles. Many will drive their own vehicles or rental cars, but limousine services will be called upon for more out of town trips. Expect some of these services to operate luxury vans to provide customized comfortable intercity and interstate travel of several hours duration.
One of the greatest benefactors from this change in travel attitude may be the railroads . . . particularly Amtrak. Regional services will gain some ridership, but interstate and cross-country services may see new patterns of passenger usage. While the federal government may provide up to $3 billion to Amtrak this fall to enhance safety and capacity, customer service will be a major determinant. Even with all their griping, airline passengers have come to expect a certain level of service and amenities-especially those who flew in first class cabins or flew frequently.
Passengers contemplating altering their habits to travel by rail will expect dependable schedules, clean and safe equipment, and employees with a high service attitude. Local communities with Amtrak service will have to assure comparable support of rail passengers with enough taxis, rental car facilities, adequate parking, free-flowing security, and traffic direction. This travel alternative has been a poor cousin to airports and all their ancillary services. A real opportunity for the railroads, if they're alert.
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