At Hotelmize, we are always looking for inspiring people to bring relevant insights to the audience. Hotelmize Talks is designed around a very simple concept – deliver useful and actionable information to everyone in the travel industry.
In our last Hotelmize Talks interview, we were looking into the world of investing – and there is a lot to talk about here, especially during these turbulent times where companies are developing new ideas while some are looking for funds to get by. The goal was to bring a real perspective on how business and travel have been handled in the last few months.
In this particular interview, Dor Krubiner talked with Chibo Tang, a partner at Gobi Partners based in Hong Kong, overseeing its Greater Bay Area (GBA) practice. Gobi Partners is a Pan-Asian venture capital firm with 12 offices globally and a footprint that covers Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. In Hong Kong, Tang manages the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AHKEF). Tang, has over a decade worth of experience in investing in early-stage companies.
He also led the last funding round at Hotelmize. Tang is recognized in the industry as Silicon Dragon Venture Capitalist of the Year 2017, Top 25 Global Corporate Venturing Rising Star 2019, Top 10 Global Corporate Venturing Emerging Leader 2020, a member of Generation T Asia Tatler Tribe, and a Co-Chair of the Asia Technology Entrepreneurship Conference. Hearing what he has to say about the travel industry and how COVID-19 affects it was quite enlightening.
COVID-19 Impacts Are Not Going Away Soon
While listening to Chibo’s interview, we came to the conclusion that COVID-19 has a very profound impact, and it can impact us on both personal and business levels. There are hundreds of factors all affected by COVID-19, making things even harder to anticipate and get ready for.
One of the insights from Chibo’s perspective to think about is that, so far, we have enough information to say that novel coronavirus impacts from a long-term perspective are not going away, at least not soon.
At Home Rapid COVID-19 Tests
Dor and Chibo also briefly touched on the subject of testing and how faster and more reliable tests can help us fight the pandemic. These tests can be implemented in airports to prevent the spread of the virus and restart the travel industry. We learned that one of Gobi Partners’ portfolio companies Prenetics, is currently developing rapid tests. This can bring a positive change to travel in the coming months.
However, Chibo outlined that the price of these tests and the fact that different markets have different levels of trust in their governments can appear challenging if the goal would be to make daily testing a necessity.
The COVID-19 Vaccine and Its Potential Impact
Since finding the first reliable COVID-19 vaccine is one of the hottest topics in the travel industry now, it’s only expected to wonder how the vaccine will change the global atmosphere. As Chibo and Dor were discussing, one thing is for sure – with Pfizer and Moderna both offering promising news, the vaccine will come out soon. But, the question is – will it restore the world back to normal?
Chibo, however, points out that it’s impossible to answer this question at this point as we simply don’t have access to enough information. He brings two very important questions to our attention:
● Will the new vaccine be able to take avail COVID-19 and all of its subsequent strains of COVID-19?
● Distribution and time to market of the vaccine are also under a big question. Will it be able to reach the target population in time, and will everyone be able to afford it?
Watch Chibo’s Tang COVID19’s insights here:
What’s Changed In The Travel Market?
Our CEO, Dor Krubiner, also has a unique insight into what’s going on in the travel market. He pointed out that, in the last 8 months, nothing has changed. There are no rapid tests, no vaccines. The only response governments have is quarantine off, quarantine on.
During the conversation, one specific trend emerged, though. Dor said that every time Hotelmize sees the numbers are getting better in the specific market, immediately everybody starts to travel. The travel market is impacted by COVID-19, but more precisely, by the atmosphere the pandemic created.
As we could hear from the conversation, the biggest issue remains the regulation of travel between different countries. That’s why the US travel market is in a better state than that of the EU because domestic flights were not canceled, and people could still fly between states.
With the upcoming positive news about a possible vaccine and cure for COVID-19 in mind, it’s safe to assume the moment things start to look better in terms of COVID-19, everyone will start traveling again. One thing both experts agreed on was that the people’s will to travel would never stop existing. This is something that will immediately bring the travel industry back on track.
Don’t miss Mr. Tang Travel tech recommendations on his Hotelmize Talks interview: